Scotch whisky exports to Poland are growing despite the pandemic

2020 has certainly not been an easy year for the Scotch whisky industry. The uncertainties related to Brexit and the tariffs imposed by the US, and above all the global pandemic and related restrictions, made it a year full of challenges for all entities related to the Scotch whisky industry. However, taking into account the latest data and information from the industry, one may be tempted to say that it coped very well with the situation. Scotch whisky producers can enjoy particularly good results on the Asian and Polish markets.

Poland is assessed by many experts as one of the most dynamically developing whisky markets in Europe. Despite the fact that whisky currently accounts for only approx. 10% of the spirits market in Poland, this category is increasing its share in Polish market every year. There is a growing interest in Scotch whisky among consumers, and the market has a very diverse and developed offer of Scotch whisky in various segments (from economy to premium). The premiumization trend is also very visible in Poland, and consumers are increasingly turning to more expensive, better-quality alcohols.

Scotch whisky exports to Poland in 2020

According to the latest HMRC (Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs) data, exports of Scotch whisky to Poland from January to October 2020 amounted to almost £ 79 million, which means an increase of over 12% compared to the same period in 2019. A much greater increase, by over 29% recorded the category of the highest quality whisky, i.e. single malt. The export of this type of Scotch whisky to Poland exceeded 10 million pounds in the first 10 months of the year.

The increase in the value of exports to Poland in such a difficult period for the industry proves the great interest of consumers in the category of Scotch whisky - bars, restaurants and hotels were closed, making it difficult for consumers to access single malt whisky, and yet we imported much more than last year. It is also worth adding that the value of global exports of Scotch whisky from January to October 2020 decreased by more than 25% compared to 2019.

The growing popularity of whisky in Poland can also be seen on store shelves. In addition to the growing number of specialist stores, there are also more and more single malt whisky bottles in hypermarkets, often with age statements.

Whisky - a luxurious drink and an alternative investment

The phenomenon of premiumisation, which is visible globally in the context of Scotch whisky, consists in turning consumers towards more expensive and better quality products. It is a natural process related to the enrichment of society. In Poland, the number of affluent citizens whose purchases drive the luxury goods market is growing. According to the KPMG report "The Luxury Goods Market in Poland, 2019", in 2019 this market in Poland reached the value of PLN 25 million, and by 2024 it may reach a value of PLN 38 billion. However, according to the Global Wealth Databook 2019, in Poland live almost 116 thousand people who belong to the group of high net worth individuals, i.e. those whose net worth exceeds USD 1 million.

In the case of whisky, one more aspect should also be considered - many collectors or investors purchase rare, luxury whisky not only as a drink that can be consumed or a status symbol - it is also an alternative form of capital investment. Interestingly, you can invest in Scotch whisky not only in the form of collector's bottles. Investments in whisky casks, the value of which are determined not only by the rarity or fashion among connoisseurs, but above all by age, are gaining popularity.

- In 2020, we observe a lot of interest in investments in Scotch whisky casks. It is natural that in times of uncertainty and turmoil in the financial markets, asset-backed alternative investments are seen by investors as a "safe haven" for capital to weather the difficult times. Scotch whisky casks are perfect for diversifying the investment portfolio due to the very low level of correlation with traditional investment instruments - says Krzysztof Maruszewski, the CEO of Stilnovisti. - An additional advantage is certainly the historical resistance of the whisky market to economic crises, as well as the stable growth in demand for Scotch whisky in recent years. All these features fueled the demand for investments in casks of whisky in the past year - adds the CEO of Stilnovisti.

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