Subscriber login Close [x]
remember me
You are not logged in.

SMWS aims to remedy previous "laissez-faire" approach with push to drive US growth

Published:  25 July, 2016

The Scotch Malt Whisky Society (SMWS) has announced a new long-term partnership to grow its premium offering in the United States after breaking away from its former owners last year.

The society is aiming to ramp up its presence in the US after splitting from The Glenmorangie Company by joining forces with marketing agency ABCK Corp..

The US is currently the world's largest Scotch whisky export market by value.

Speaking to Harpers, Kai Ivalo, marketing and spirits director at the SWMS, explained that the partnership has been created to meet the demand of increasingly sophisticated consumers by circulating a wider range of single malt and premium whisky casks in the US.

"People are increasingly looking for authentic whiskies and we're putting effort into meeting this demand. Whereas before, the society took more of a laissez-faire approach, we now recognise the tremendous opportunity offered by the US, which is an established malt whisky market. The partnership is part of new strategy to meet the demands of an increasingly sophisticated customer-base," he said.

With its headquarters in Edinburgh, the SMWS is an international members club offering the world's widest collection of rare and exceptional single cask whiskies.

The team at ABCK Corp. will be working alongside SMWS's long-term partners, Alan Shayne, CEO of Spirits Imports Inc. and Gabrielle Shayne, managing partner of Spirit Assets LLC, to expand membership and sales opportunities across the US market.

The society's global strategy will be to focus on the growth of existing mature markets.

Ivalo explained: "We'll be taking a similar approach with the US and be looking at how we can grow mature Scotch markets. It needs to be where people already have an appreciation of Scotch: places like North America, Japan and Taiwan in Asia, the EU and the UK."

In a statement released last week, Paul Skipworth, chairman of the SMWS, commented: "Single malt whisky continues as an exciting and dynamic growing category within spirits. As consumers become more discerning, single cask releases, which are the specialty of SMWS, represent the apex of the whisky journey.

"We have a loyal membership base within the USA and now believe it is the right time to further capitalize on our presence to expand the society more widely throughout the US market.

"This will be focused on delivering an ever-increasing range of intriguing single casks in order to delight and inspire whisky drinkers across America. We are very excited to be announcing this long-term partnership with ABCK Corp., who is the perfect partner to assist us on this journey of growth in the United States."