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SMWS owner sees improvement in Q2

The Artisanal Spirits Company, which owns the Scotch Malt Whisky Society (SMWS), saw improvement during the second quarter of its financial year compared with a ‘flat’ first three months.

The Artisanal Spirits Company owns the SMWS

Revenue during the second quarter (Q2) of 2023 rose by 7%, after a ‘relatively flat’ first quarter (Q1).

Revenue topped £10 million (US$13.1m) during the first half of the company’s 2023 financial year, up from £9.9m (US$13m) during the same period in 2022.

Andrew Dane, CEO of The Artisanal Spirits Company, said: “The first half of the year was another period of strategic delivery with improved sales and membership growth.

“Following a relatively flat start to the year, momentum has increased in Q2 with strong trading across Europe, continued recovery in China and a record performance at our UK venues.”

The SMWS has seen its membership numbers increase by 9% year on year. The Artisanal Spirits Company noted continued strong performances in Europe and UK venues.

Online sales during May and June were ‘softer’ than expected, but Q2 trading in China showed ‘positive momentum’ with revenue up by more than 50% compared with Q1 this year. Membership growth also rose by 8% year on year.

Dane added: “SMWS membership, a key indicator of future sales growth, has increased to over 38,700, reflecting the enduring appeal a growing demand for our uniquely curated premium whiskies.

“We continue to expand our global footprint and capture increasing demand from enthusiasts in high-growth regions such as Southeast Asia.

“This includes the upcoming launch of a new subsidiary in Taiwan, the world’s third largest market for ultra-premium Scotch whisky.

“We are well positioned to deliver further growth from our diversified end markets and ultra-premium positioning. With increasing commercial momentum and the flexibility of our model to extract value from our extensive stock-in-cask, we are confident in delivering full-year expectations.”

The new subsidiary in Taiwan – the world’s third-largest market for ultra-premium Scotch whisky – is on track to launch during Q3 this year.

Executive appointments

To achieve its goals, the company has adjusted its executive team. Billy McCarter has been appointed chief financial officer, while Chris Leggat, former chief executive of Douglas Laing, has been named business development director.

The company also launched its new franchise in South Korea in April 2023, recruiting 300 members at its initial launch.

Furthermore, new franchise agreements were secured in Malaysia and Singapore, alongside an extended partnership with La Maison du Whisky.

Looking to the future, Europe and UK-based venues look set to outperform last year. Momentum in China looks set to continue and a strong second half of the financial year is expected in the US and the UK.

The company said it was on track to deliver growth in line with its full-year expectations.

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