Julie Hesketh-Laird, acting chief executive of the SWA, said, “A nearly 4% duty rise and a 79% tax burden on a bottle of whisky is a major blow, reversing recent progress.

“Distillers will find it hard to understand why the Chancellor is penalising a strategically important British industry with this tax increase.

“At a time when government should be supporting a key home-grown sector, we face a damaging tax rise on top of the uncertainties of Brexit.”

Calls for “fundamental review and reform” of alcohol duty system

Hesketh-Laird added, “Looking to the autumn Budget, we will be arguing strongly that it is time for a new approach to excise duty outside the constraints of EU excise law.

“The system is in need of a fundamental review and reform to make it fair and competitive.”