Shares in The Artisanal Spirits Company (ASC) lost further ground today, continuing a gradual decline in the stock that has been evident since April.

But the Edinburgh-based firm’s interim results, published today, offered plenty of grounds for encouragement regarding its future prospects.

ASC, which is best known as the owner of the highly regarded Scotch Malt Whisky Society, did say it has been impacted by the “changing macroeconomic conditions and cost of living pressures” this year and that those challenges would not be going anywhere for the next 12 to 18 months.

However, the company went on to make a convincing case as to why it can continue to grow, even though people have much less cash to spare for things like Scotch whisky than they used to because of high inflation and interest rates.

READ MORE: High-profile collapses spark fears of further failure

That case was built upon by chief executive Andrew Dane in an interview with The Herald, in which he set out the benefits of the Society spreading its exposure to multiple markets across the world, not least in whisky-mad Asia, where it has established a new subsidiary in Taiwan (in addition to subsidiaries in China and Japan), and franchise outposts in South Korea, Malaysia, and Singapore.

He is especially encouraged by the firm’s recent progress in China, where it has seen revenue and membership return to growth following the easing of Covid restrictions and return of popular whisky festivals.

Overall, global membership of the Society grew by 9% to 38,700 in the six months to June 30 and is continuing to rise.

Augmenting the company’s exposure to markets where rare and interesting Scotch whisky is very popular, particularly among the well-heeled, is the ongoing trend in the drinks industry which is seeing consumers drinking less in volume terms but spending more on premium products.

READ MORE: Historic Scottish law firms merge to create top-four player

With the cost of a night out more expensive than it was a couple of years ago, it may be the case that people are joining the Society and ordering nice bottles of Scotch to enjoy at home, rather than venturing into town and spending money in bars and restaurants.

But happily, for the Society, members are still visiting its premises, with its UK venues (in Edinburgh, Leith, Glasgow, and London) enjoying their strongest six-month performance on record. Member usage and spend per head both rose in the six months to June 30.

The stock market may not be entirely convinced with the direction of travel at ASC - its share price has fallen to 68p at the close last night from 102.5p in the first half of April - but whatever the reason it will be unlikely to be causing Mr Dane any sleepless nights.