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Imagine you crack open a ‘79 Macallan whiskey bottle, a bottle that costed you only 50€ in 1997, while it costs more than 6000€ in the investment market today. These are the kind of opportunities that lie ahead for investors who decide to invest in Whiskey as an alternative investment.
But what really makes whiskey a good investment prospect? The passage of time plays a big factor in deciding which whiskey gets the chance to shine in the spotlight. We have created a practical guide to whiskey investments for everyone looking to diversify their portfolio with liquid gold.
The underlying rules of the whiskey investment game are fairly simple: the basic supply vs. demand principle. Rare and scarce whiskey in combination with high demand will result in a high value appreciation. Thus, capital appreciation is the end-game when you decide to invest in Whiskey, since it does not pay dividends like equities or give rental yields like real estate properties.
The demand for whiskey has continued to grow despite the industry taking hits during historical events such as both the World Wars and recent events such as the global recession in 2009.
Limited editions, commemorative bottles, and single casks all have proven that they make up great returns when investing in them for the long-term. Investing in whiskey is an asset that requires a classic Warren Buffet “Buy & Hold” strategy.
Investing in whiskey can be done in two different ways: either directly into whiskey bottles or long-term investments into whiskey casks which keep the whiskey while it matures over 5-10 years before being bottled and sold. Investing in whiskey bottles is quite popular as they reap quick profits and are a common auction item in all the high-end auction houses like Sotheby, Bonhams, and Christie’s. However, there has been a surge of people who are interested in investing in whiskey casks as well.
This relative youth of the cask market makes it an attractive investment as competition in this market has yet to reach its peak, and secondary market often sees steep increase in prices.
Unlike whiskey bottles that rise in value but do not age after they are bottled, the whiskey contained within casks continues to get better with time. While the former’s value depends on the brand’s popularity, a cask's value continues to appreciate regardless of the popularity of its brand.
Casks do not require personal storage space or shipping as they are held in bonded warehouses and maintained by warehouse professionals. The profit for cask investment can be easily calculated, while bottle’s brand popularity can fluctuate.
Demand and Supply are not the only principal factors that are able to influence the price of a whiskey bottle or cask. What qualifies a whiskey as “good”? Its flavor complexity, quality ingredients, distilling methods, smoothness, and aging are some of the factors.
As for its price, the following factors contribute to its appreciation or depreciation:
Cost of manufacturing - Whisky production takes time and money. A lot of it. The quality and rarity of a whiskey is dependent on its maturation period. It must be aged, ideally between 5 to 10 years, or longer, during which its stock value is bound to increase.
Marketing and demand - The demand for a whiskey is dependent on the years of marketing while it was in its maturation period. With the rise in demand increasing for rare whiskeys from the 70s or earlier, and the supply shortage naturally leads to a rise in prices for high-age bottles in the secondary market.
Impact of casks investment - The barrels that whiskey is aged in are very important when it comes to imparting flavor. The demand for cask trade also increases the prices of the casks, making it appealing to investors and sellers.
Traditionally, whiskey as an asset class has been an investment only accessible to large scale investors due to the high entry barriers in terms of minimum investment. If you are planning on investing in whiskey any time soon, these are some of the things you ought to keep in mind:
A diversified whiskey portfolio in the 5 to 6-digit price range is usually much more lucrative than a 4-digit one when expecting great returns.
Investing in whiskey has always been very popular for large scale investors due to the low correlation and the high potential returns of 8-15% per annum.
As a private investor, if you have the funds to invest in a whiskey investment vehicle directly, it makes sense to look either into long-term cask investments or bottle investments or a combination of both. Ideal starting amounts to invest in a high-performing whiskey (portfolio) would be 20,000 - 50,000 EUR.
If you are not in the position to invest these high amounts into only whiskey, you can buy shares of a diversified whiskey portfolio through Konvi. (Keep in mind should not over-allocate to alternatives such as whiskey. 5-10% is the maximum limit that should be allocated to whiskey in your financial portfolio.)
Konvi fractionalizes ownership in alternative assets such as whiskey, watches, fine wine etc. This means from 250€ onwards, anyone can buy shares into rare, historically high-performing whiskey portfolios through the world-leading investment vehicles for whiskey.
We at Konvi only offer alternative assets on our platform, which have been thoroughly curated and are analyzed by experts to be a potentially high-return investment and a value-adding asset for our customers' portfolios. Thereby, we continuously communicate and update the Konvi community on their assets, allowing transparent and safe transactions.
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