The annual Scotland Ltd report found that the top 21 food, drink and leisure companies generated a combined £4.1bn in turnover over the past year.
Profits across the sector rose from £443m to £520m (up 14 per cent), while the average salary across the 18,680-strong workforce increased from £24k to £35k.
An ongoing public fondness for Scotch Whisky was key to the booming market. Distiller William Grant & Sons had the highest turnover while The Edrington Group – which produces the Famous Grouse and Cutty Sark brands – had the largest pre-tax earnings.
Brown’s Food Group, which owns the Hall’s frozen food brand, was named the top performing company for employment growth.
James Chadwick, head of food and drink, Scotland at Grant Thornton, said: “Amid some of the most politically and economically challenging global conditions, the industry has remained completely focused on positive, sustainable growth.
"Businesses have demonstrated a commitment across the industry to collaboration which has gone a long way to positioning Scotland as a global leader in food and drink.”
The report was compiled by accountancy firm Grant Thornton UK using the publicly available accounts of Scotland’s top performing private businesses.