Scotland Mostly Sells Scotch Whisky

A barman lifts a bottle of Scotch whisky from a shelf in the Deoch An Dorus pub in the Partick area of Glasgow on Sept. 17, 2013.

Photo by Andy Buchanan/AFP/Getty Images

Scotland is best known for its Scotch whisky, but the economic aspects of the Scottish independence debate have mostly centered on North Sea oil. And yet it turns out that at the end of the day the Scottish people really are mostly selling booze not oil:

About half the world’s whiskey is produced and consumed in India where UB Whiskey churns out beverages that have little appeal to people outside the subcontinent. But economic growth in China and environs has produced a booming demand for higher-end booze, greatly benefiting producers in Scotland and the United States alike. Because Scotland is really small, that adds up to a much bigger difference in their national aggregates.