Last month, I wrote about the return of some iconic whiskey ghost distilleries and the popularity of rare single malts. This trend is particularly favorable to enthusiasts who collect these expensive spirits, which can often be worth thousands of dollars and carry a hefty return on investment.
However, whiskey investing isn’t just for lovers of lost distilleries. Those eager to diversify their portfolios might also want to look at the popular spirit. Known as an alternative investment (like wine or art), whiskey has been making ground — in the last ten years, the value of rare whiskey grew by 564%.
Whiskey trading is taking place across the globe. In the United Kingdom, the auction market increased from £$14 million to £53 million in the last five years. The collectible whiskey market is especially popular among buying groups in Asia — one buyer set a world record when they purchased an Ardbeg single malt cask for £16 million.
When it comes to buying (and potentially trading) rare whiskeys, any old bottle won’t do. Be on the lookout for a rare single malt Scotch. (However, Japanese brands like Yamazaki have also sold for hundreds of thousands in the market). These valuable spirits can often be sourced at auctions or special collections from those ghost distilleries I mentioned earlier — there are even virtual auctions today.
Like any asset, investing in whiskey does have its risk — from picking the right bottles, finding a reputable auction, and understanding the value of your collection.
Investing in rare whiskey isn’t for everyone, and some aficionados might want to cherish their collections and never turn a profit. However, it might be a worthwhile and profitable avenue for those knowledgeable whiskey lovers looking for a unique investment opportunity. Who knows, you might end up like the lucky investor who sold two casks of The Macallan for £225,000 last year after purchasing them for a combined total of £4,700 in 1994.
Danilo Diazgranados is an independent investor in the global food and wine, financial services, real estate, and the hospitality sectors.