Scotch Malt Whisky Society owner opens £2.5m bottling plant

Scotch Malt Whisky Society owner opens £2.5m bottling plant

Artisanal Spirits Company, which also owns J.G. Thomson & Co., started production at the bottling and logistics facility in late 2022

20 March 2023

Scotland's Artisanal Spirits Company – owner of the Scotch Malt Whisky Society (SMWS) and J. G. Thomson & Co. – has formally opened a £2.5 million multi-purpose production facility in the country's central belt.

The Masterton Bond bottling plant at Uddingston, funded through an initial public offering (IPO) by Artisanal Spirits Company in 2021, has been fully operational since November 2022. The company has signed a 10-year lease on the facility, which will also provide cask storage, fulfilment and distribution service alongside its bottling line.

Andrew Dane, Artisanal Spirits Company CEO. and chairman Mark Hunter officially opened the facility on 21 March, claiming it will mark a "real step change" in the company's performance and aid growth for the SMWS and J.G. Thomson & Co., which produces a range of blended malt whiskies, grain whiskies, rum, and gin.

On the Masterton Bond bottling line. Credit: Artisanal Spirits Company / Peter Sandground

Dane said: “It seems poignant that, as we celebrate 40 years of the Scotch Malt Whisky Society, we look ahead to an exciting new era of providing more whisky than ever before to our membership worldwide.

“Masterton Bond is in line with our long-term business plan, utilising funds raised from our IPO in 2021, to evolve our cask storage and bottling requirements. This excellent new facility reduces our dependence on third-party bottlers for production, storage, fulfilment and distribution – our sincere thanks to all our third party suppliers who have worked with us and helped us to get to this point. This improvement to our capacity for bottling marks a real milestone for our supply chain efficiency and performance. We are forecasting an improvement to margin as well as a higher volume of bottle production.”

Andrew Dane (right) and Gary McGrath outside Masterton Bond. Credit: Artisanal Spirits Company / Peter Sandground

Gary McGrath, operations manager at Masterton Bond, added that the facility had to date bottled more than 70,000 bottles and was preparing to make shipments to key markets for Artisanal Spirits Company, including China, the US, Australia, Germany, France, and Japan.

The facility's opening comes as the SMWS, which has become known for its limited-edition whisky releases for members, prepares to release several special bottlings for its 40th anniversary in 2023 alongside a schedule of commemorative events and collaborations.

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