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SMWS owner reports 25% H1 sales rise

The owner of the Scotch Malt Whisky Society (SMWS) saw revenue climb by a quarter in the first six months of 2022, led by ‘significant growth’ in the UK, Europe and China.

The SMWS has 17,700 members in its home market, the UK, as of June 2022

The Artisanal Spirits Company (ASC), owner of the SMWS, reported a revenue increase of 25% to £9.9 million (US$11.4m) for the six-month period. Profit rose by 21% to £6.2m (US$7.15m).

The company’s revenue increased by 21% in 2021, led by ‘exceptional growth’ in China.

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

The firm’s total membership climbed by 24% to more than 35,600 during the first half of this year.

David Ridley, managing director of ASC said the group “delivered significant membership growth, whilst simultaneously continuing to build our business in terms of appreciating whisky stocks and infrastructure to support our future growth ambition for the medium to longer term”.

The company noted ‘robust growth’ in its European membership (up 33%) since the launch of the new EU route to market at the end of 2021.

The owner of SMWS said its membership saw a return to growth in China during the third quarter and ‘acceleration in growth’ in the US, which represents its second-biggest market for members at 5,500 (up 15%).

UK membership numbers soared by 31% to 17,700, while Australia grew by 28%, and Japan and China were both up by 15%. The rest of the world, which includes franchise markets in Denmark and Switzerland, increased by 7%.

Ridley said: “We continue to benefit from structural tailwinds as premiumisation, digitalisation, experience and convenience combine to accelerate the appeal of our proposition to our expanding global membership base.”

The ASC also noted a ‘healthy’ supply chain and good stock availability across its markets.

The firm has made a £2.4m (US$2.7m) investment in new spirit stock, bringing the total number of casks to 15,700.

The company said it is on track to meet its full-year revenue performance in line with market expectations. The firm is predicted to reach £21.6m (US$24.9m) in revenue by the end of 2022, up from £18.2m (US$21m) for the 2021 full year.

Ridley said the company is on track to double its revenue from 2020 to 2024.

He added: “Furthermore, and as evidenced by the continued growth by many of the global spirits majors, whisky continues to demonstrate its strong and enduring credentials.

“ASC’s unique portfolio of curated, limited edition whisky benefits from natural price elasticity which, in turn, provides strong gross margin appreciation and a natural inflation hedge.”

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