Artisanal Spirits Company serves up new brand aimed at 'adventurous' drinkers

The company that owns the Scotch Malt Whisky Society (SMWS) has launched a creator of small-batch blended malt whiskies, grain whiskies, rum and gin – known as J.G. Thomson & Co.

The Artisanal Spirits Company (ASC) says the new brand is focused on creating high-quality, small batch spirits “designed to appeal to discerning drinkers across the world who are looking for bold and innovative tastes”.

It added that J.G. Thomson brand is inspired by its namesake, a wine and spirits merchant that in the 18th century was based in the building in Leith now known as The Vaults – which currently houses ASC’s head office and an SMWS members’ room.

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The launch of the latest venture by ASC follows its flotation on the Alternative Investment Market in June of this year with a valuation of £78 million, a move it says is allowing it to bring new brands to market, develop the membership base of the SMWS, and enhance its digital channels. SMWS’s remit is bringing curated whiskies to life through tasting events, content and other member activities.

ASC boss David Ridley - who says the new venture comes amid growing appetite from drinkers 'looking to taste something new and extraordinary'. Picture: Colin Hattersley.
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The modern-day J.G. Thomson is targeting “adventurous” drinkers with the launch of its debut spirits collection, which features the first batches of its core range of three no-age statement blended malt whiskies, two limited-edition aged whiskies, a rum and a gin.

ASC added that the aim is to mix “characterful” spirit with high-quality casks, with the blending team working closely with selected partner cooperages to either procure specific casks, or create their own, toasted and charred to defined standards.

David Ridley, who heads up ASC, said: “We’ve been inspired by Edinburgh’s Thomson family, who became renowned for their spirits business back in the 1700s.

“The new J.G. Thomson will be constantly on the lookout for new spirits, influences, flavours and tastes to explore from around the world to meet the growing appetite for high-quality spirits, especially the rising interest in blended malts, from discerning and adventurous drinkers looking to taste something new and extraordinary.


“This exciting launch builds on the ongoing success of our business, including [the SMWS], and is a key part of our growth plans following our landmark flotation on the stock exchange in June. We plan to grow our company through the launch of more new brands, each of which will be an independent concept with a differentiated product line.

“We’re pleased to be playing a key role in ensuring that Scotland builds on its leading position in the global spirits industry.”

ASC said in September that it was confident of doubling sales by 2024 after making a “bright start” as a listed company. The group reported a 20 per cent increase in revenues for the six months to June 30 to £7.9 million, slightly ahead of management’s expectations, with gross profit up 31 per cent to £5.1m.

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Last month it revealed the signing of a ten-year lease for a new supply-chain facility in Uddingston, adding that this was expected to become fully operational in the second half of 2022 and have around ten staff.

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