The whisky market has been growing steadily since the great “Whisky Loch” in the 80’s, with new distilleries opening each year. The market has changed greatly over this time.
Japan only started to seriously import whisky in 2000 and have since become a powerhouse. While Irish whisky has exploded going from 3 distilleries to 35.
While world whisky continues to grow, scotch has gradually lost market share to its competitors. Although on average more consumers drink Scotch Whisky each year than American, Irish and Canadian whisky combined, there is now greater competition than ever before with credible threats to Scotch remaining number 1.
In spite of the competition whisky prices continue to rise on the secondary market. To the point where now, whisky investment is a credible and relatively safe investment strategy.
On the Knight Frank Luxury Investment Index whisky is now the number 1 commodity, with prices rising over 40% in 2018, and continuing to grow exponentially. Whisky investment continues to grow in popularity, whether it is a hands-on approach or using one of the many business models ie. Platinum Whisky Investment Fund. Based in Hong Kong, Platinum is an investment program with over 10,000 bottles in their holdings and an annual rate of 17%.
The rare whisky icon index 100 charts the value of limited-edition releases from the well-known distilleries. This index has shown an annual return rate of 21%. Rare whisky is still the pinnacle of the market as we have recently seen in Australia with the Game of Thrones whisky collection. The Clynelish which was not originally released, seeing the value of the bottle fetch 5 to 7 times the original value. There will be a ceiling to the value of whisky investment, however it looks as though we will not see it in the short and medium term.
Although I see the merit in whisky investment I prefer to think of whisky as something to be experienced and enjoyed amongst friends. The solution for this might just be to buy a bottle to invest and one to enjoy, and if they value doesn’t rise enough to your liking at least you have another bottle to enjoy.
In any case, the winner here is the Whisky industry and us as a byproduct. Whether we are admirers, collectors or drinkers, we are now spoilt for choice more than ever in the history of the ‘water of life’.