The Scotch Malt Whisky Society closes South Korea franchise agreement deal

The Scotch Malt Whisky Society closes South Korea franchise agreement deal

The Artisanal Spirits Company (ASC), owner of The Scotch Malt Whisky Society(SMWS), has announced a new franchise agreement with F.J. Korea (FJK) in South Korea, Asia’s fourth largest economy.

South Korea is the tenth largest market within the global ultra-premium scotch malt whisky sector, based on value, and was estimated to be worth $161 million (£143m) in 2021, an increase of 65% vs 2020. This represents an entirely new market for SMWS which has not had a presence in South Korea to date.

F.J. Korea is the fourth largest liquor distributor in South Korea with a strong presence at over 2,000 on-trade venues and a wide national network base in key locations such as Seoul. In association with FJK, SMWS plans to recruit new members in the region through the SMWS website, digital marketing and social media activity, as well as physical, in person partner bar and live marketing initiatives such as whisky festivals and tasting events.

South Korea’s whisky market is well positioned for increased premiumisation and e-commerce growth, demonstrating similar consumer trends to other global markets in which ASC operates, as consumers increasingly seek limited edition products and bespoke experiences. This is combined with a growing number of local whisky enthusiasts on social media and an emerging cohort of younger consumers, in particular, continuing to eschew larger, more mainstream brands in favour of niche, craft and limited edition Single Malt Scotch Whisky.

The SMWS model, based around a loyal, valuable and growing membership, combined with the constant stream of unique, award winning products, is therefore perfectly placed to succeed in this market.

This development follows the Group’s recent entry into Mexico and South Africa last year, through franchise agreements in those respective geographies, as ASC continues to expand its global footprint into new growth markets.

David Ridley, managing director of Artisanal Spirits Company, commented: “I am delighted to announce this exciting collaboration as ASC continues to progress its strategy to expand its presence in key international whisky markets, adding South Korea to our growing footprint. This further establishes our operations in Asia – one of the fastest growing whisky regions in the world.

“We look forward to collaborating with F.J. Korea whose existing brand portfolio is highly complementary to SMWS’ premium whiskies. FJK has committed to grow the SMWS brand for the long term, pledging a dedicated team to focus on our brands and member recruitment in in this new market

“This further underpins our approach to seeding and expanding our growing presence in key international markets and the exciting potential we believe the Asia region continues to represent for ASC within the context of our international growth plan.”

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