The best single malt whiskies are set to triple in price next year due to the worst supply chain crisis in the industry’s history.

Experts have warned Brexit, the pandemic and soaring demand have resulted in a “perfect storm” hitting Scotland’s prized £5billion dram export market.

There are fears it could leave distilleries struggling to meet global demand over the festive season and lead to years of price rises.

The Sunday Mail found a bottle of 16-year-old Lagavulin – a favourite Christmas present – has rocketed by £10 since this time last year.

Dawn Davies is Head Buyer at The Whisky Exchange

Dawn Davies, head buyer at The Whisky Exchange, one of the world’s biggest sellers of fine malts, said: “During lockdown distilleries weren’t able to get liquid into casks.

“It’s going to be very interesting what happens in the next 10 or 15 years because there is going to be a massive shortfall.

“The other issue is that absolutely everything – because of Brexit and Covid – is taking a hell of a long time.

“Sales have gone up, people haven’t forecasted correctly and there are huge issues trying to get glass, caps, cork – things you wouldn’t even think about.

“I used to be able to turn stock around in two weeks – now it’s a minimum of a month.

“It is all adding up to a perfect storm in the industry as a whole at the moment. I think for the next three or four years we are going to see big price increases.

“Demand is outstripping supply. For older whisky, over 20 years, some of the prices are tripling next year. That could mean a £100 bottle costing £300 and for the younger stuff you are looking at about nine per cent rises.

“Suppliers aren’t coping, bonded warehouses aren’t coping, the customs and imports authorities aren’t coping.

“I definitely would say to people that if you have a favourite dram, go out and buy it early. Do your Christmas shopping early because I’m basically not guaranteeing anything to anyone about any stock.

“Demand for single malt has grown exponentially in the last few years and the distilleries just don’t have the liquid barrel, especially the older stuff, to get the volumes out.”

We found a bottle of 16-year-old Lagavulin had increased in price from £48.29 last Christmas to £58.29 today – a hike of over 20 per cent. Meanwhile, the websites of top distilleries showed many malts out of stock.

Last week it emerged the entire booze industry was facing delivery delays of two weeks, sparking fears of a Christmas drought.

Champagne, wines, gin and whisky are the latest goods to be hit by a lack of containers on ships, jammed ports and the shortage of HGV drivers.

The Edradour Distillery in Pitlochry, Perthshire (Image: DAILY RECORD)

Andrew Symington, owner of the Edradour Distillery in Pitlochry, Perthshire, said: “Our online sales went through the roof over lockdown and demand continues to be really strong – people were drinking more and they wanted better quality stuff. But the supply chain problems really are reaching crisis point. It is a nightmare for the industry – distilleries are phoning each other asking for supplies.

“We are having trouble getting hold of bottles, corks, cardboard.

“The cost of shipping a container to America or China has gone up – if you can find a container to send.”