Founded in 1983 in Leith, Edinburgh the Scotch Malt Whisky Society (SMWS) with over 26,000 members worldwide, and branches in 19 countries has seen unprecedented growth over the last decade but that may be about to change. As it is revealed the society has been sold to private investors under unspecified terms, though it is claimed that over 50% of shares are expected to remain in Scottish hands.
First acquired by the Glenmorangie company in 2004 the Scotch Malt Whisky Society saw a decade of growth growth moving from only a handful of branches to its current size. However with the Glenmorangie Company focusing its priorities elsewhere, namely “developing the Glenmorangie and Ardbeg brands globally” the decision has been taken for the company and the society to part ways.
The societies aims much as the Glenmorangie company are on the global horizon, Paul Miles the managing director of the SMWS notes that the change of ownership means that “There’s a small amount of international investment, and because we’re growing so fast internationally that’s an asset. Our biggest growth area remains the US, but beyond that our key markets include Taiwan, Japan and China.”
The Scotch Malt Whisky Society
The society was founded when Phillip Hills convinced a small group of friends to share the cost of a cask of Glenfarclas to be enjoyed without blending. Thereafter the group slowly expanded buying more and more casks and releasing the bottles to its members becoming the defacto source of cask strength, single cask expressions for many enthusiasts within the UK.
The implications of this change for members are as yet unclear but we’ll keep you aprised of any updates.