03 Apr Whisky: a Scottish success story
Scotch whisky today is one of today’s great success stories — it contributes £5 billion to the UK economy and earns £4 billion a year overseas — whisky accounts for some 80% of Scottish food and drink exports and a quarter of UK food and drink exports.
Yet when one looks back at the early history of the industry and the cudgels that governments of every hue clobbered it with over the centuries, it is amazing we have a whisky industry at all.
Early taxation of alcohol began in the mid-1600s and became organised after the 1707 Act of Union which also created the Customs and Excise to collect excise duty and pursue and prosecute illegal distillers. However, as many Scots had distilled freely for years, they balked at being taxed on it.
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