When looking at the main players in the whisky cask investment market, the results can be split into three continents: Europe, America, and Asia. As previously explored in our ‘Whisky or Whiskey? blog, the whisky market is huge in Asia, both in terms of consumption and investment.
This is reflected in the figures from the BC20 Index which reported that China topped the whisky cask sales list in Asia, making up for 48.76% of the total market. Following behind was Singapore at 21.69%, and then Japan at 15.70%.
It’s not just whisky sales which are proving popular in the Asian markets, but also returns on investment for other spirits too. In 2021, 24 bottles of China’s popular Kweichow Moutai liquor sold for $1.4 million, showing the growing appetite for the spirit market as a whole, which is largely down to the rapid rise in Millennial investors who see clear opportunities for these rare commodities.
This growth is further highlighted in the BC20 Index which saw the number of younger investors under the age of 40 now representing 35.21% of the overall market. What’s more, in February, the Scotch Whisky Association reported that for the first time, Asia-Pacific had overtaken the EU as the industry’s largest regional market.
When it comes to Europe, the UK leads the way by some margin as the biggest market for whisky cask investment, making up a whopping 74.34% of total investors. This is largely down to the Scotch whisky industry in Scotland, where exports grew to £6.2 billion in 2022, an increase of 37% compared with the year before. This remarkable performance clearly reflects the strong recovery of whisky industry exports and an increase in consumer demand for single malts.
However, in comparison to the UK, the rest of Europe is trailing far behind and makes up for some very low statistics when it comes to the whisky cask investment market: Spain makes up for 5.22%; Germany 4.46%; Netherlands 3.80% and Switzerland a tiny 2.64%. This goes to show that while whisky is keenly appreciated on the continent, the European market is almost entirely dominated by the UK.
The removal of tariffs on Scotch being imported to the United States means that its popularity is improving for an already optimistic whiskey cask investment market, which in 2022 was the industry’s only market with exports valued at more than £1 billion. According to last year’s Whisky Cask Market Report, online cask auctions have largely come from America and the UK, which again shows the rising popularity Stateside.
With bourbon being a popular type of American whiskey primarily made from corn, this also proves to be a notable investment in the United States. Consumer demand is growing for this product, with bottles of rare bourbon fetching more than $20,000 at auction, and even production bottles regularly selling for over $4,000 on the secondary market.
Domestically, luxury bourbon is seen as a high-end investment and status symbol for many Americans, and it should be expected that this market will continue to grow and have a positive impact on the Scotch whisky cask investment market as appreciation and knowledge of the spirit are enhanced.
Whisky cask investment is becoming an increasingly popular ‘passion investment’, along with other asset classes like art, wine or classic cars. Figures such as those being reported across the globe shows that there is evidently a growing appeal internationally, as investors explore alternatives to more traditional types of savings and stocks and shares.
From Asia to America, investors are relying on the original and finest source of Scotch whisky as a safe and wise investment, seeing its benefits and realising its true value.
Even if your investments are with Scottish brands at Whisky 1901, it is always interesting to compare how different markets are shaping up across the continents, especially when there is such a positive future ahead.