The Whisky Market In 2020

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In 2019 rare whisky sat at the top of the Knight Frank luxury investment index, rising by 564% in value over the last decade and performing better than coins (+175%), art (+141%), wine (+120%), and handbags (+108%). Research of casks sales data over five years indicates that returns from investment in whisky have outstripped the S&P 500, Bitcoin and gold.

The market has continued to perform well through 2020 despite the global pandemic hitting investment confidence across the board. While in the early part of 2020 the cancellation of a number of auctions due to the pandemic saw the volume of whisky sold drop for the first time in 10 years, the market showed strong resilience and recovery through the rest of the year.  

Since 2008 the Rare Whisky Index tracked by Whiskey 101 has risen in value by 538.7%. Even in the past 12 months, while other investments have been subdued, whisky has seen sustained growth with a 12-month increase of 15.63%. With Asian demand surging, as it did in the wine investment market a decade ago, the whisky market looks set for strong growth moving into 2021.

Online Sales

As within other alternative investment markets such as art, the whisky market has been forced to move online through the pandemic. Bonhams have reported that their whisky online auctions have seen robust interest from this rising community from across Asia and beyond. Nearly 40% of the bidders are new clients and over 30% are young collectors under 40 years old.

Standout sales have included a Karuizawa 1968 50 year old sold for HK$471,200 (£44,500) and Karuizawa Yashiro 1971 37 year old sold for HK$347,200 (£32,800), over four times the pre-sale estimate. A Macallan Lalique Genesis 72 year old Decanter also sold for HK$ 930,000 (£88,000) and a Black Bowmore 1964 for HK$186,000 (£17,600). Sotheby’s Hong Kong have also reported strong results in their largest online spirit auction in the region, with Karuizawa claiming the top three lots of the sale.

The luxury wine and spirits retailer Le Clos, which operates out of Dubai Airport and runs The Macallan boutique in Terminal 3, saw $2 million in sales within a day with the online launch of the Macallan Red Collection. The online launch led to the bottles being bought by mostly European, mainland Chinese, and Dubai-based collectors. Prices ranged from $15,000 to $87,000, with the higher priced bottles in greatest demand.

Cask Market Focus

The whisky cask market continues to experience positive growth despite the pandemic. As mentioned above, when compared against other popular investment indices the BC20 Whisky Cask Index performed better than gold, Bitcoin and the S&P 500 index.

The whisky cask index shows strong annual growth of 13.09% with casks from the top three whisky distilleries showing projected returns close to 20%. The market is seeing significant increase in value of casks over 20 years in age, while casks aged 45 years are seeing continued increasing values.

Notably, the largest percentage increase in value is seen during a cask’s younger years, making new make spirit a highly desirable investment for those with time to wait. To find out more about how you can profit from whisky cask investments, you can speak with our whisky experts by emailing info@tomokacasks.com.

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