Although home consumption is falling, Scotch exports are soaring and now generate a quarter of all UK food and drink exports, while production accounts for one in every 50 Scottish jobs. Scotch is now expected to deliver annual exports – the value of sales before local taxes – of more than £2.5bn for the first time. The older and more expensive the whisky is, then the higher the growth rate has been. Christian Porta, of Pernod Ricard, says although standard whisky sales are only growing at 1% or 2% a year, 17-year-old super-premium brands are rocketing 15% a year. Distillers are now racing to dream up ever more luxurious and expensive twists on existing brands to meet the demand for top-shelf whiskies in markets like China. Diageo's Johnny Walker posted record sales earlier this year, up 16%, to consolidate its position as the world's most valuable spirit brand. Pernod, although number two, has leading positions in key markets, including China, and claims to be sitting on the largest reserves of aged whisky.