Malt Whisky Society owner ASC ups revenue to £22m

Shares of Edinburgh-based Artisanal Spirits Company plc (ASC), owner of The Scotch Malt Whisky Society (SMWS), rose as much as 8% on Wednesday after it said its 2022 revenue increased 19% to £21.8 million.

ASC said the revenue was ahead of expectations “with significant revenue growth in China and UK venues and strong membership growth in Europe, Australia, the US and Japan.”

Gross profit increased 23% to £13.8 million, while loss before tax narrowed to £2.1 million.

SMWS membership growth increased by 12% to over 37,400.

“The group has delivered another year of significant progress in which the strategic plan has continued to be executed and the objectives outlined at IPO to achieve long term sustainable growth continue to be met …” said the company.

“Board remains confident in delivering its ambition of doubling revenue between 2020 and 2024.”

ASC reported £5.5 million of further investment in both cask spirit and wood, taking the total number of casks to 16,500 as well as completion of the new state-of-the-art supply chain facility at its Masterton Bond.

Stock-in-cask at December 30, 2022, increased its notional retail sales value by 15% to £493 million.

On current trading, AC said: “Revenue in Q1-23 broadly flat year on year vs the exceptional growth experienced in Q1-22.”

ASC CEO Andrew Dane said: “Our ambition is to create a global, premium business which is highly profitable and cash generative by delivering the world’s best whisky experiences.

“We have a pioneering model, a long-term global growth opportunity on which we are primed to deliver. We are making significant strategic progress with strong membership growth and delivery of another strong year of profitable growth supported by improvement across all financial and operational KPIs.

“Over the last year we have continued to make investment for the future in further spirit and wood, as well as our own supply chain facility, and while the rate of cash spend on this has peaked, we will continue to invest, with a focus for FY23 on IT and technology to deliver and accelerate our growth even further.

“Our markets benefit from underlying structural dynamics which have increased our addressable market. We are seeking to exploit this opportunity by growing our international footprint, including in South Korea and Malaysia.

“The new financial year has begun well. We remain on track to meet our 2024 revenue target of £30m and deliver significant progress on our path to sustained profitability.”