By Scott Wright

THE company that owns the Scotch Malt Whisky Society has commenced initial bottling operations at its new supply-chain facility in Uddingston.

The Artisanal Spirits Company said yesterday that the development of Masterton Bond is proceeding according to budget and schedule, with the project now in the commissioning phase following the completion of construction work. Artisanal expects the site, which will handle production, cask storage, distribution and fulfilment of ASC whisky and other stock, to be fully operational during the first quarter of 2023.

The company, which signed a 10-year lease on the 37,000 square foot building last year, forecasts that the facility will improve its operating margins by around two per cent, with initial benefits to be gained early next year.

Artisanal, which floated on the stock market last year, offers thousands of members of the Scotch Malt Whisky Society around the world exclusive access to a unique range of single cask whiskies and other craft spirits.

In September it reported that membership had grown by 24 per cent to 33,600 in the first half.

Last month it announced that it had linked up with a leading liquor distributor in South Korea, FJ Korea, in a move aimed at helping it build a significant presence in the country's fast-growing Scotch whisky export market. FJ Korea distributes products to more than 2,000 bars in South Korea, and has operations in key locations across the country, such as Seoul.