Whisky Cask Investment: A Beginner's Guide

by Ryan Fazackerley
Director of Cask Sales at Whisky 1901

FCA registered, Ryan is a seasoned whisky trader with over 10 years’ experience in global equity trading. He is passionate about the spirits industry and has an impressive track record in the financial sector.

Ryan has developed a deep understanding of the whisky market, both from a financial and a connoisseur’s perspective. He is known for his ability to identify market trends early on and for making astute investments that deliver strong returns. Ryan’s expertise in finance combined with a love for whisky make him a valuable asset to any individual looking at how to invest in whisky in this rapidly growing industry.

Once a rare commodity

Limited to industry insiders, private and corporate investors can now easily add whisky casks to their investment portfolios. With prices starting at around £5,000, one of the world’s top performing luxury investments is accessible to many more today. But how and where should you start?

Read on for Whisky 1901’s guide to investing in whisky for beginners.

Do your due diligence

When considering whisky investment, it’s important to do your research to find a reputable whisky broker to help you understand how to invest in whisky. A knowledgeable consultant should be able to guide you through the entire process of purchasing, owning, managing, and eventually realising your whisky cask investment, so it’s important that you have full confidence in the company and trust their expertise.

We recommend checking that the company’s consultants have the appropriate qualifications and accreditations. For example, that they are Wine & Spirit Education Trust (WSET) and/or Edinburgh Whisky Academy certified.

You should only work with a company that has a WOWGR licence – this confirms that they have been approved and audited by HMRC to own, buy and sell goods in duty suspension in a bonded warehouse. It’s also worth checking whether the company has a lawyer or legal partner that can advise you along the way, as well administrating legal transfer of ownership should you choose to proceed with purchasing a cask.

Consider your investment goal

Think about your personal circumstances. For example, are you saving for a deposit on a home, retirement or to leave a legacy for future generations? What’s your budget and investment timeline, i.e., how much do you want to invest and for how long? And what’s your appetite for risk? Although casks start at around £5,000, investments typically range between £30,000 to £50,000 and we recommend a minimum five-to-10-year investment. Generally, the longer you hold a cask the more the whisky in it improves and the greater the return.

At Whisky 1901, we make it our mission to connect investors with the right whisky cask based on their unique set of circumstances so it’s important to consider your goal, seeking independent financial advice if necessary.

Familiarise yourself with the buying process

If you decide to proceed with investing in a cask, you’ll need to provide identification and proof of UK residence to carry out Anti Money Laundering (AML) checks. On completion of these, you’ll receive a Certificate of Purchase to sign and our bank account details. Once this is signed and payment is made in full, the legal and beneficial entitlement to your cask passes to you.

We’ll issue a legal document called a Bailment Contract confirming your cask’s transfer of ownership to you. This includes a Unique Cask Number, a Delivery Order and the signatures of both parties. This common law agreement certifies that you are the legal owner of the cask.

Select the right cask

As and when you decide to proceed with an investment, you’ll need to pick a cask that aligns with your investment goal. With 143 Scotch whisky distilleries operating across six regions in Scotland: Campbeltown, Highlands, Islay, Lowlands, Islands and Speyside, choosing the right cask can be challenging for a beginner so it’s worth getting expert advice.

It’s important to select distilleries based on merit, history and worldwide demand. At Whisky 1901, we only work with the top 20-40 distilleries in Scotland, owned by brands Diageo, Suntory Holdings and Edrington Group, i.e. those that invest their money back into marketing and tourism which, in turn, increases the brand value and credibility.

Monitor the performance of your portfolio

Naturally, you’ll want to track the performance of your investments. Our investors receive quarterly updates on current whisky market performance. Every two years, you’ll receive analysis of your specific investment detailing projected ROI based on market prices. With Whisky 1901, you’ll receive quarterly investment updates from our consultants on current whisky market performance. Every two years, you’ll receive analysis of your specific investment detailing projected ROI based on market prices. You can also access details of your investment portfolio via our online dashboard.

Understand your options when it comes to realising your investment

When it comes to selling or exiting the market, there are various options available to you. You may wish to sell on the open market or, if you work with Whisky 1901, sell to our existing client base. We have investors interested in both new and mature casks and/or we can help source potential buyers from a broad professional network of brokers and collectors to make sure your cask goes for a healthy price.

Alternatively, you can choose to sell at auction. This has become a popular way of selling cask whisky as the process requires minimal effort. It’s also possible to sell back to whisky brands as distillers often ‘run short’ of stock. Or you may even wish to bottle and brand your whisky to sell to independent bottlers or the retail market, or simply enjoy the product yourself.

We not only advise on how to invest in whisky but how to realise your investment when the time is right.

Start your investment journey today

The first step on your whisky cask investment journey is generally to register interest. If you’ve requested information about how to invest in whisky from Whisky 1901, one of our consultants will contact you to discuss the current market, your budget, investment timelines and risk appetite, without any obligation to purchase.

Download our investment guide


Begin your journey with whisky

Contact Us

Download our