- Whisky has been produced in Scotland for over 500 years. There are now over 102 working malt distilleries in Scotland and 7 grain distilleries. For a whisky to be labelled Scotch Whisky it has to be produced and matured in Scotland for a minimum of three years. In Scotland, around 41,000 jobs directly or indirectly rely on the Scotch Whisky industry. Included in this is employment within bottling, packaging and distribution which together account for a greater proportion of employment in the spirits industry than employment in distilling itself. Whisky is one of Scotland's top exporting sectors and is sold in over 200 countries worldwide.
- Scotch whisky production is now dominated by a number of large multi-national drinks conglomerates - including Diageo, Pernod Ricard, William Grant & Son and the Edrington Group. These four companies own 62% of the distillation capacity for malt whisky and 85% of the distillation capacity for grain whisky. The remaining capacity is owned by a mixture of foreign and indigenous Scottish companies.
- Headquartered in London, Diageo is the world's leading premium drinks company and is the largest single producer of Scotch Whisky. Its operations in Scotland extend to four maltings, 28 malt distilleries, two grain distilleries and eight major warehousing and blending sites. Diageo employs over 4,000 people in Scotland.
- William Grant & Sons, headquartered in Dufftown, is a family-owned business that has been producing Glenfiddich whisky since 1887. Other key brands in their portfolio include Grant's, Balvenie and Monkey Shoulder. In 1999 they joined forces with The Edrington Group and bought Highland Distillers (William Grant & Sons has a 30% stake)
- In the UK, the five most popular Scotch blended Whiskies are Bell's (Diageo), The Famous Grouse (Edrington), High Commissioner (Glen Catrine Bonded Warehouse), William Grant's (William Grant & Sons) and Teacher's (Beam Global). Although the value of Scotch blended Whisky sales rose 4% between 2008 and 2009, the volume of sales fell 1%.
Top 5 facts sources: SPICe Briefing, The Scotch Whisky Industry: October 2009.