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SMWS creates Taiwan arm

The Artisanal Spirits Company (ASC), owner of the Scotch Malt Whisky Society (SMWS), has established a subsidiary in Taiwan as part of its strategic expansion in Asia.

The Artisanal Spirits Company owns the Scotch Malt Whisky Society

The ASC operates whisky membership organisation the SMWS, which has more than 38,000 subscribers globally.

Citing IWSR 2022 data, the company said Taiwan is the world’s third-largest market for ultra-premium Scotch whisky by value, with an estimated total of US$593 million.

Andrew Dane, CEO of ASC and chair of SMWS Taiwan, said the organisation now has a presence in the world’s six largest markets and a global footprint that covers more than 80% of the US$8.1 billion ultra-premium Scotch whisky sector (IWSR 2022 data).

The ASC said the creation of the SMWS Taiwan arm marks the next milestone in the group’s strategic expansion in Asia where the SMWS operates similar subsidiaries in China and Japan.

The ASC secured a new partner in Malaysia last year and established a franchise agreement in South Korea in April 2023.

The SMWS Taiwan subsidiary replaces the company’s existing franchise deal and provides direct sales access to the market.

Dane continued: “Taiwan is one of the world’s largest and most sophisticated whisky markets.

“The new subsidiary expands our footprint in Asia and gives us direct access to this exciting territory, helping us to capture demand for our unique combination of ultra-premium and limited edition whiskies and outstanding experiences and knowledge.

“Launching the Taiwan subsidiary was a key strategic objective for 2023 and we are delighted that this has been delivered so successfully.”

The company said it secured 500 paying members on SMWS Taiwan’s first day of trading.

Under the terms of the agreement, ASC will own a 70% stake in the entity. The remaining 30% stake is held by two local owners in Taiwan.

The subsidiary is led by Murphy Chang, former brand heritage manager for Moët Hennessy Taiwan, who has been appointed country director.

He will be supported by Eric Huang, former franchise partner and a whisky expert in Asia, who has been hired as SMWS president.

The ASC saw improvement during the second quarter of 2023 compared with a ‘flat’ first three months.

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