Scotch Malt Whisky Society owner cheers major funding to back global growth

Scotch Malt Whisky Society owner Artisanal Spirits Company has secured a £19.5 million funding package to support its growth after a record year.

Thursday, 6th May 2021, 9:45 am
Updated Thursday, 6th May 2021, 9:45 am

ASC, which just last month signalled a possible stock market flotation, said the new financial facilities agreed with Royal Bank of Scotland and Lombard would enable it to further invest in whisky and other spirits stock as well as new cask wood.

Headquartered at The Vaults in Leith, Edinburgh, the Scotch Malt Whisky Society (SMWS) is a curator and provider of premium single cask Scotch malt whisky and other spirits for sale to a global membership of around 28,000 whisky fans.

Founded in 1983, the society’s main aim is to share the world’s best curated whiskies, bringing them to life through tasting events, content and other member activities.

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Scotch Malt Whisky Society's members' rooms at Bath Street, Glasgow. Headquartered at The Vaults in Leith, Edinburgh, the society is a curator and provider of premium single cask Scotch malt whisky and other spirits for sale to a global membership of around 28,000 whisky fans. Picture: Peter Sandground

Each month it offers members exclusive access to a range of limited-edition, single cask bottlings; and hosts members in its four venues in the UK and around the world in more than 100 “partner” bars.

David Ridley, managing director of ASC, said: “While we had a number of challenges throughout the past 12 months, the Scotch Malt Whisky Society has continued to thrive thanks to its valued members and our enhanced on-line offering with virtual tastings and our Unfiltered magazine moving to a monthly on-line format.

“This support from Royal Bank of Scotland will help us deliver on our exciting future plans and bring an increased range of superior whisky and other spirits to our members. The team at the bank have been great, demonstrating an excellent understanding of our business needs – it was a very smooth, collaborative experience throughout.”

ASC recently said it was eyeing a stock market flotation after reporting strong annual results.

The firm signalled a signalled a possible initial public offering (IPO) on London’s junior Alternative Investment Market as is announced that it had appointed drinks industry veteran Mark Hunter as chairman.

Paul Skipworth, who has now moved into the role of deputy chairman, said: “Over the past five years as chair, I’m delighted that company revenues have nearly tripled, stock levels have quadrupled and the business has changed positively and dramatically.

“The foundations for success have been built and are delivering results year on year.”

Bosses described 2020 as another strong year amid a “challenging backdrop” as the company continued to benefit from the growing demand for premium single cask malt whisky both domestically and overseas.

Global membership of the Scotch Malt Whisky Society increased 4 per cent in the year to about 28,000, thanks to an increase in the number of sign-ups made through online channels.

The Scotch Malt Whisky Society has been a customer of Royal Bank of Scotland since 2015, after it was acquired from LVMH’s Glenmorangie company.

Andy Barraclough, head of regional asset based lending at Royal Bank of Scotland, said: “The Artisanal Spirits Company boasts a quality management team, a clear strategic view, and a record-breaking trading performance during the pandemic. Their plans are sure to build on this great work.”

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