Why is Whisky a worthwhile Investment?

05-05-2017 By Emily Stockden

1. Whisky is seen as an investment

It’s partly perception; after all a bottle of whisky is only really worth what it sells for. Many people are diversifying their investment portfolios and considering alternative investments like whisky. It’s an asset for which there is a consistently growing demand. It’s also a beautiful product for enthusiasts and collectors who simply like the idea of owning a bottle of rare, collectible whisky – whether they sell it at a later stage or not. Whisky auctions are consistently performing well and whisky investments outperformed both gold and oil in 2016 according to Rare Whisky 101, a whisky consultancy which holds a huge index of whiskies.

Whisky is only really worth what it sells for

2. Whisky is like no other alcoholic beverage

It takes decades to make. Most people consider a 12 year old whisky as ‘entry level’ which is somewhat absurd if you think about it, given that the liquid has been matured in a cask for a minimum of 12 years.

12 years is a long time to wait for a product to be ready for sale

3. Whisky does not age after being bottled

It only ages while it’s in the cask. I'm sorry if I've shattered your hopes: that bottle of The Glenlivet 12 year old you've been hanging onto which was your great grandfather's is still only a 12 year old. The up side - you can still drink and enjoy it! Once it’s been bottled it stays in pretty much the same condition in which it was bottled. In other words, it can last pretty much forever. It also doesn’t need to be kept anywhere particularly special – there’s no need for a cellar or perfect, consistent temperatures. All you need to do is store it upright and keep it safe and dry – remember that it’s value will depreciate if the bottle isn’t in good condition!

Whisky remains the same age at which it was bottled

4. The beverage market is expanding

Increasing wealth, particularly in East-Asia, means that there are plenty interested buyers with large amounts of money. As in South Africa, the Chinese see whisky as a desirable luxury item which displays sophistication and style and which is a symbol of wealth and success. This means that the more they have paid for it, the more it’s worth as a status symbol which drives prices up. Incidentally, the most expensive whisky ever to be sold at auction was The Macallan M which sold for $628 203 in 2014 at a Bonhams auction… In Hong Kong.

The Macallan M

5. Supply and demand

Whisky takes years to produce and most of the whisky sold for thousands of dollars has been aged for many years (some 50 years and more). Fifty years ago, distillers could not predict the desirability of that particular spirit – after all, it’s taken a lifetime to produce – and so if only a few casks were filled and only a few bottles laid down, the supply wouldn’t be able to match demand for the product. Fifty years ago, no-one could have predicted the whisky boom currently underway.

The Balvenie 50 Year Old