KEN Grier, the director of malts at Edrington, has revealed that Macallan is now the second biggest selling single malt in America as it aims to establish itself as Scotland's most luxurious Scotch whisky.
The news comes just months after the Scotch Whisky Association announced that exports had broken through the 3 billion barrier for the first time, as the value of shipments in 2008 increased by 8 per cent.
Grier, who also has responsibility for Highland Park, attributed the growth to better distribution and to the launch of a "Fine Oak" range of The Macallan, pushing total annual sales of the brand through 500,000 cases for the first time. He said: "We have now overcome Glenfiddich to move into the second biggest selling single malt by volume behind Glenlivet. It's great news for us as sales in the US market have generally been flat."
The SWA has said that 2009 is likely to be a challenging year, following difficult conditions in the final quarter of last year. But sales are still at record levels.
Total whisky production in 1993, a low point in the industry's recent fortunes, when distilleries were being closed, amounted to 351 million litres. Worldwide sales of all whiskies in 2007, including much younger blended varieties, totalled 495 million litres.
The most spectacular growth in sales has been in the Far East. In 2007 Singapore, from where goods are distributed throughout east Asia, imported 47 million bottles of whisky, a 121 per cent increase on 2006. The rise in popularity of malt continued in 2008, with a 5 per cent increase in worldwide sales.