Mr Alba, a group of Chinese investors wanted to create and run a whisky business in Scotland but had no infrastructure or knowledge of operating in the UK.

They needed to persuade HMRC that they had a sound business case and meet all the regulatory requirements as well as get the necessary approval to work in the UK whisky industry.

In particular, getting the green light from HMRC was a massive challenge as it has become increasingly difficult to get consent for projects like this.


We carefully researched the regulatory frameworks, and HMRC requirements; revised the business plan and devised an approach to successfully get the approvals needed.

Crucially, we undertook an in-depth study of the whisky business and the regulatory authorities to fully understand the legal and commercial situation before making our submission to HMRC, so our understanding of corporate law, tax law and HMRC practice was essential.

We supported the team in working with the professional legal advisors to do all the required legal work. We also met with the Scotch Whisky Association.

“You have got us to a place that we just would not have been able to get to alone. We couldn’t have achieved what we have without the support of Strathblair”

- Grace An, Mr Alba

The Result

Mr Alba are now legally authorised to trade as a whisky business and to export internationally.  They can own whisky casks, build their own brand and export.

Previously they could own bottles, but they couldn’t own casks, so we’ve helped make them a more viable business. They can invest in valuable casks to build and develop the business for the future.

In Detail

  • With the owners in China, we worked with their representative and their management team;
  • We worked to restructure the company and its shareholdings;
  • By connecting them with professional advisors and industry specialists, we augmented their management capability;
  • We provided specialist intelligence on the whisky sector and advised on the approvals process for operating in the UK industry.