Scotch has been with us for centuries, and judging by the industry’s current metrics (roughly 40 bottles exported per second, and some $5 billion in annual business), it will be with us for centuries to come. Thank goodness for that, because a world without scotch is far too terrible to imagine. Scotch is amazing, and in its roughly 600 years on the planet it has accumulated some truly astounding factoids and tidbits. Here are five of them to savor alongside your next dram of aqua vitae. (Bonus fact: aqua vitae, which means “water of life,” was scotch’s first nickname, dating to the Middle Ages).
There are more casks of aging whisky than there are people in Scotland.
With a population of 5.3 million, and more than 20 million barrels of whisky in store, Scotland has almost four casks of whisky per citizen. Not surprisingly, whisky is Scotland’s leading export—to put it mildly. It makes up 73% of the country’s export output, and 20% of the total food and drink exports of the entire UK (that’s England, Scotland, Northern Ireland, and Wales). There are more than 100 distilleries and four regions of whisky production in Scotland.