Cask whisky has proved to be one of the most reliable and rewarding ways to invest. Simon Aron of Cask Trade explains why
Results of the recent Knight Frank Wealth Report’s new unique luxury investment index revealed whisky was one of the most coveted objects of desire in 2019.
The report published in February 2020 says that Rare Whisky has grown in value the most over the last 10 years at 564 percent and increased by 5 percent in the past 12 months; and states that casks have remained in huge demand. By comparison, cars have seen an increase of 194 percent, art by 141 percent and wine by 120 percent.
Data collected by Rare Whisky 101 suggests the four-year growth from December 2014 in rare whisky has increased over 160 percent, compared to just 2.47 percent for the FTSE 100.
I founded Cask Trade in 2018 in partnership with several of the world’s foremost whisky masters, including Keeper of the Quaich Sir Colin Hampden-White. Cask Trade buys and sells exceptional cask whiskies. The company is unique because it only sells casks it owns outright, and it only sells whole casks: it is not a whisky cask broker and it does not offer fractional sales.
A passionate whisky collector for more than 20 years, I suffered many false promises from whisky investment companies and this drove my ambition to create a real and trustworthy market place for whisky collectors and investors, and bottlers.
The company’s casks are held in the best HMRC bonded warehouses, regularly visited and approved by Cask Trade whisky masters. All stock holdings have a complete paper trail, including delivery orders from supplier to Cask Trade, invoices for transfer of ownership, storage insurance, re-gauging, sampling or movement, HMRC-issued WOWGR (warehouse keepers, warehouse premises, owner of goods and registered consigners): a fully regulated and closely monitored license requiring due diligence on suppliers as well as customers; and HMRC-issued AWRS Alcohol Wholesaler Registration Scheme: Licenced to wholesale, bottle and retail.
Included in its extensive list of customer services, Cask Trade’s rigorous processes means that the company will guarantee to buy back from its clients the casks they buy from and have had managed by Cask Trade. It also offers…
• Regular sampling and re-gauging of casks
• Re-racking (sherry wine, port etc)
• Estimates of bottles and strength in cask (effects of angels’ share 0ver years of maturations)
• Financial modelling for each cask based on age and rarity with estimated % returns
• Costings for bottling, labelling and shipping (duty & tax)
• Regularly updated whisky investment guide which includes statistics from two authoritative third parties (independent of Cask Trade)
• Cask Trade will arrange for clients to receive samples of their whiskies and visit their barrels(s), upon request – wherever possible.
Cask Trade has also started the first live auction website dedicated to exceptional whisky casks: auctionyourcask.com, hosted four times a year and helping private owners/investors sell their cask to independent bottlers and other investors all around the world. All casks will be re-gauged ready for auction and a full 70cl sample will be drawn so that bidders have the opportunity to try the whisky before they buy, wherever possible.
We validate all the sellers and confirm proof of ownership and the history of the cask enabling bidders to safely buy. With complete transparency and no sellers’ fee, Cask Trade can offer the actual hammer price. Our low buyers’ fee of 15 percent + VAT will offer the opportunity to buyers, trade or private, to buy rare casks.
Ten Good Reasons to Invest in Cask Whisky
1) Whisky is a top performing luxury investment and far outstrips the more established alternative asset investments such as art, wine and cars. Estimated accumulative short-term returns of 40 percent, medium term of 80 percent, and long term 140 percent.
2) Each cask is unique and only a limited number are available. No two casks will ever be the same.
3) Time is on your side as whisky only matures in the cask. The more mature it gets the more valuable it becomes.
4) There is no index or quoted market for whisky casks as each one is different.
5) Complete transparency – Cask Trade buy each cask first and all the paperwork, location and health of the cask is verified before it ever makes it onto the stock list.
6) Trusted marketplace – Buyers can take Cask Trade’s WOWGR number, go to the ware-house and confirm the cask exists. Bonded warehouses check-in each cask and perform a ‘dip’ test to measure the level of alcohol. Every year, they are required to report to HMRC how many casks they have and the level of alcohol. Casks cannot be faked or fabricated.
7) Casks are safer than storing bottles; the only thing stealing your whisky is the angels.
8) Whisky is a delicious asset and casks are a physical, tangible asset that you own. You can sample them, trade them or even bottle them!
9) Investment Realisation: Cask Trade’s multiple exit strategies and global client base ensures a hassle-free exit from your investment.
10) Cask Trade will arrange for clients to receive samples of their whiskies and visit their barrels(s), upon request, wherever possible.
Simon Aron is a serial entrepreneur and angel investor with a background in technology, commercial property and agriculture. He founded his first business Eurodata Systems plc in 1990. He has collected, traded and invested in bottles and casks of Scotch Whisky for more than 25 years, and is currently the Vice President of Agrovision and a trustee of educational charity Ort UK.