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SMWS owner reports double-digit FY sales

The Artisanal Spirits Company, owner of the Scotch Malt Whisky Society (SMWS), saw revenue increase by 21% last year, led by ‘exceptional growth’ in China.

The Artisanal Spirits Company owns the Scotch Malt Whisky Society

By Nicola Carruthers

The Artisanal Spirits Company’s revenue reached £18.2m (US$23.8m) in 2021, compared to £15m (US$19.6m) in the previous year.

Gross profit increased by 27% to £11.2m (US$14.6m), which is mainly due to the five-year suspension of US tariffs on single malt Scotch, the firm said.

The SMWS is a membership organisation which bottles and sells single cask, single malt whisky and other spirits from more than 20 countries.

The company saw its membership increase by 18% last year, with a 15% rise in the second half of 2021. The company has a global membership of 34,200 as of the end of February 2022.

UK member numbers rose by 20%, with growth in other markets averaging a 15% increase for the entire year.

The company noted a strong performance in China (up 57%) offset by lower growth in Europe (up 3%) as a result of Brexit-related challenges in the first half of the year.

The US and Australia both recorded 18% growth in subscribers, while Japan increased by 14%.

IPO listing

In June 2021, the firm made its debut on the stock market with a valuation of £78m (US$110m). The Artisanal Spirit Co said it had raised gross proceeds of £26m (US$34m) through the initial public offering (IPO).

David Ridley, executive managing director of the company, said: “In the months since IPO to year end, we made excellent early progress in delivering against our strategic objectives; investing in, enhancing and optimising our operations to create a platform capable of delivering high, sustainable and ultimately profitable growth, always keeping the interests of our loyal SMWS members firmly at the centre of everything we do.”

The funds have allowed the firm to make progress on several goals including boosting further investment in new make spirit stock and cask wood, and the signing of a 10-year lease on a new supply chain facility.

Furthermore, the company debuted a whisky, gin and rum range called JG Thomson & Co, and increased equity interests in joint venture entities in China and Japan.

Ridley added: “Moving into 2022, we have made an encouraging start to the new financial year, again from both a sales and member growth perspective.

“The outlook is positive, notwithstanding the inherent unpredictability of the pandemic and its effects, giving us confidence in our ability to continue our track record of delivering significant year-on-year growth, while remaining on course to deliver our ambition of doubling sales between 2020 and 2024.”

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