Scotch Whisky exports grew to a record £4.2bn last year as younger drinkers in emerging markets developed a taste for the tipple.

The Scotch Whisky Association, which announced the figures today, said rising demand in developing and mature markets had helped export values rise an average of 10% a year over the past five years.

Exports to the US, the biggest market by value, rose 31% year-on-year to £654.9m – breaking the £600m barrier for the first time. Sales to France, the second biggest market, grew 27% to £535.4m.

Growth in countries across Asia and Latin America had been boosted by affluent young professionals getting a taste for Scotch, claimed the SWA. Exports to Singapore, which served as a distribution hub for much of Asia, rose by 44% to £317.9m, while sales to Brazil rose 48% to £99.2m.

To meet this increased demand, distillers had invested £1bn in new production capacity in the past four years.

“Despite continuing economic uncertainty, Scotch Whisky continues to meet increasing demand from all corners of the globe,” said SWA chief executive Gavin Hewitt.

Among the few territories to record a drop in exports were Spain, which fell 3% by value, and South Africa, down 2%.

“Despite continuing economic uncertainty, Scotch Whisky continues to meet increasing demand from all corners of the globe,” said SWA chief executive Gavin Hewitt.

Among the few territories to record a drop in exports were Spain, which fell 3% by value, and South Africa, down 2%.