Overseas sales of Scotch whisky fell dramatically last year after years of growth, according to new figures.
The Scotch Whisky Association (SWA) said new HMRC figures showed exports fell 7% to £3.95bn during 2014.
The decline was in part due to a sharp drop in exports to the USA, traditionally the the biggest export market for Scotch, where sales dropped to £748m, a reduction of 9%.
The volume of global exports also fell by 3%, to 1.19 billion 70cl bottles.
SWA blamed the decline on “weaker economic conditions and political volatility” in some markets.
But it remained upbeat about the future, arguing that the long-term outlook for the sector was “healthy”, with underlying strong growth in most emerging markets.
In Asia, Taiwan saw exports jump 36% to £197m, partly as a result of the growing popularity of single malts.
Exports to India were up 29% to £89m, despite a 150% import tariff.
But there was a mixed picture in emerging markets. Exports by volume to Mexico grew 5% to 42.8 million bottles, while value fell by 10% in that market.
SWA chief executive David Frost said: “Economic and political factors in some important markets held back Scotch whisky exports in 2014 after a decade of strong growth.
“It shows that the industry’s success cannot be taken for granted and that we must continue to argue for more open markets and ambitious trade deals that tackle barriers to market access.
“The long-term fundamentals remain strong, with consumers in emerging markets wanting to buy Scotch whisky as a high-quality and authentic product with a strong reputation and clear provenance.
“This drives the strong investment in Scotch whisky production in Scotland and the significant interest in entering the sector, especially today, April Fool’s Day.”