The Artisanal Spirits Company (ASC) is based in Edinburgh and it owns The Scotch Malt Whisky Society (SMWS), which was established in 1983 and currently has a growing worldwide membership of 28,000 paying subscribers. It recently announced its first set of results since going public and trading on AIM, with its half year results for the six months ended 30 June 2021.

Financial highlights: Revenue increased 20% to £7.9m (H1 2020: £6.6m), slightly ahead of management’s expectations.

o  Strong international sales growth, particularly in the US with performance boosted by the suspension of US tariffs on imports of single malt Scotch whisky in March 2021

o  Recovery in UK venue & events sales following phased reopening in Q2

o  Excluding UK venues & events, Group revenue grew by 25%

Full statement on the results can be seen by clicking here.

The demand from European members remained robust, despite Brexit related challenges and over £1m investment was made in spirit stock post-Admission, continuing to build on the Group’s vast and unique range of outstanding single cask Scotch malt whiskies.

“Momentum in key international markets continues to build on the back of growing demand for our products and we have seen a strong and sustained recovery in UK venue & events sales since their phased reopening from COVID from mid-May onwards, giving us confidence in meeting market expectations for the full year.” David Ridley, MD of The Artisanal Spirits Company

Having initially proven its premium experience model in the UK, SMWS is now able to offer its unrivalled breadth of distinguished flavours to an expanding international market, with 69% of 2020 sales from outside the UK.

SMWS has a growing presence in the key international whisky markets of UK, China, USA and Europe.

Total membership up 4% (International +6% and UK +2%) in the eight months to August 2021 (29,400) with:

o  Focus on high growth high margin markets (China +25% and US +13%)

o  Continued rebound in UK member numbers now up 9% from the low point in Q1.

ASC is building a portfolio of premium brands that bring together some of the world’s best producers with a growing movement of discerning consumers by curating unrivalled collections of craft spirits.

ASC has also launched J.G. Thomson, the Group’s new blended malt Scotch whisky brand (pictured above), and first orders have already been received from wholesale customers and the direct-to-consumer e-commerce website. J.G. Thomson was originally a wine & spirits merchant with its roots dating back to the 1700s and occupied the Vaults in Leith – the now home of SMWS.

For reference: An Inside the Cask chat with…John McCheyne, the Master Brand Ambassador for the SMWS



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