Malt Whisky Society Owner ASC launches in Taiwan

Edinburgh-based Artisanal Spirits Company plc (ASC), owner of The Scotch Malt Whisky Society (SMWS), announced on Tuesday the launch of a new subsidiary in Taiwan, which it called “the third-largest market for Ultra-Premium Scotch Whisky globally.”

The newly established SMWS Taiwan subsidiary replaces an existing franchise agreement and provides direct sales access to the Taiwanese market. Artisanal will hold 70% ownership of the entity.

Last month, Artisanal Spirits Company published a trading update for the six months ended June 30, 2023, showing revenue performance of just over £10 million in the first half, following 7% growth in the second quarter after a relatively flat Q1. Membership increased to over 38,700.

“Taiwan is the world’s third-largest market for Ultra-Premium Scotch Whisky, based on value, with an estimated total addressable market of $593 million (source: IWSR 2022),” said Artisanal in a stock exchange statement on Tuesday.

“It marks the next milestone in the group’s strategic expansion in Asia where SMWS already has similar subsidiary operations in China and Japan as well as franchise partners in a range of markets, including new partners in Malaysia, and a recently established franchise agreement in South Korea.

In the first day of trading, SMWS Taiwan enrolled 500 paying members.

“The group plans to now drive sales and engagement through the SMWS website, in-person events and digital marketing, as well as social media activity, building on launch activity for media, whisky clubs, brand ambassadors and retailers.

“Under the terms of the agreement, the group will hold 70% ownership of the entity.

“The subsidiary is led by an experienced management team of Murphy Chang, former Brand Heritage Manager for Moët Hennessy Taiwan, as Country Director who will have operational responsibility, supported by Eric Huang, the former franchise partner andone of the foremost whisky experts in Asia, as SMWS President and Andrew Dane (CEO of The Artisanal Spirits Company) as Chair of the Taiwan entity.”

Artisanal CEO Andrew Dane said: “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.

“We now have an SMWS presence in the world’s six largest markets and our full global footprint giving us coverage of over 80% of the $8.1 billion Ultra-Premium Scotch Whisky Market (2022 IWSR).

“We look forward to welcoming many new members to the Scotch Malt Whisky Society in this market as we continue to expand our reach across Asia.”