The Scotch whisky industry could ramp up growth significantly in key export markets as it supports efforts to increase the strength of brand Scotland overseas a leading sector figure has said.

Glen Gribbon, who took charge at the Bladnoch distillery after leading the global marketing push for The Macallan single malt, said: “The long-term prospects for Scotch are incredibly exciting.”

Mr Gribbon highlighted the potential to build on already impressive rates of growth for Scotch exports in the vast markets of China and India.

Rapid economic development is likely to support the trend which has seen demand for Scotch increase rapidly in both countries. Mr Gribbon said the long-term outlook for the China market was very bright, especially for high value premium products.

India has become the biggest market for exports in terms of volumes even though heavy import duties are imposed on the spirit. Mr Gribbon noted the Scotch Whisky Association has mounted a campaign to get the duty cut, which could have a major impact if it is successful.

“India could move from being a very big market for Scotch to being a very big market for premium and single malts,” observed Mr Gribbon.

He was speaking after underlining the value of Scotch in a presentation at the Advertising Association’s LEAD conference in Edinburgh.

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Mr Gribbon noted that Scotch played an important role in attracting affluent visitors to Scotland from around the world.

The investment that owners of brands such as The Macallan and Johnnie Walker have made in the quality of their spirits and in their branding has helped build the reputation of Scottish products overseas.

Mr Gribbon noted the potential for producers of other goods such as jewellery to capitalise on that success. He raised the prospect that Scotland could develop a reputation as a supplier of luxuries to rival those of countries such as France and Italy.

Mr Gribbon also underlined the economic importance of the whisky industry, which supports around 40,000 jobs, and the contribution it makes to the wellbeing of rural and remote communities in which many distilleries are based.

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The Bladnoch distillery is near Wigtown in south-west Scotland. Mr Gribbon also chairs the Moray-based Cabrach distillery, which says it aims to breathe new life into one of the UK’s most rural communities.