Exports of Scotch whisky reached a new high in 2009 thanks to growing demand in the US and Latin America.

Export volumes of malt and blended whiskies each grew by 4% last year, the Scotch Whisky Association said, while sales increased by 3% by value to £3.13bn.

The US was the biggest single importer, splashing out £419m on Scotch. However, sales in Europe dipped by 1% over the year to £1.26bn.

"Scotch whisky distillers have delivered record exports in the face of a global economic downturn,” said Diageo boss Paul Walsh, who also chairs the SWA.

“It is an impressive performance, underscoring the importance of Scotch whisky to the UK economy. The industry is continuing to invest and sustain its efforts to secure fair access to export markets. We look to the next UK government to work with us to build on Scotch whisky's success in the future.”

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