The Scottish like to point out the many world-changing ideas, inventions and heroes they have given humanity: the telephone (Alexander Graham Bell immigrated to the U.S. from Scotland); the radio (mathematician James Clerk Maxwell), penicillin (discovered by Alexander Fleming) and even John Paul Jones (the putative father of the American Navy).
The achievements of these figures have been extensively developed, improved upon and otherwise enhanced, but there is one gift from Scotland that has hardly changed in more than 200 years: whisky.
Many of the global brands of Scotch on the market today are distilled and matured in the original distilleries that created the amber spirit, some dating back to 1779. Exports of Scotch generated 4.3 billion pounds ($6.69 billion) for the U.K. economy in 2012, a record high. That's roughly $1,246 for every man, woman and child of Scotland's 5.3 million population.
Here’s some other interesting facts you might not know about one of the world’s most popular drinks.
1. Exports earn £135 ($210) every second.
2. Every second 40 bottles of Scotch are shipped overseas.
3. Fully 140 million cases were exported worldwide in 2012.
4. Laid end to end, these cases would stretch to more than 30,000 kilometers, or about six times the distance between Edinburgh and New York.
5. More than 35,000 jobs across the U.K. are supported by the industry.
6. At any given time, some 20 million casks lie maturing in warehouses in Scotland.
7. To be an official Scotch whisky, the spirit must mature in oak casks in Scotland for at least three years.
8. 108 distilleries in Scotland are licensed to produce Scotch whisky.
9. The highest price ever paid at auction for a bottle of Scotch whisky was £288,000.
10. Drinkers in the U.K. often enjoy it with just a little water, but in Spain they mix it with cola. In Japan, Scotch is enjoyed with lots of water and ice, and in China, with cold green tea.
11. Even in France, Scotch is the best-selling spirit, outselling the home-grown cognac for decades.