Golden opportunity: what is driving the success of the Scottish whisky industry

This is paid-for content on behalf of Vintage Acquisitions, and does not necessarily reflect the views or advice of LondonWorld
Scottish whisky exports topped £6bn last yearScottish whisky exports topped £6bn last year
Scottish whisky exports topped £6bn last year

It’s being heralded as a golden era for Scottish whisky as exports hit record highs and a potential new deal with India could double the size of the market again in the next five years.

As the global thirst for single malt grows - last year a private buyer paid £16m for a cask dating back to 1975 from the Ardbeg distillery on the Scottish island of Islay - new distilleries are appearing, but this liquid gold is still a precious and finite resource.

There are currently only 143 operating Scotch whisky distilleries across Scotland and, because the majority is bottled before it hits 12 years old, the desirability and quality of Scotch whisky increases with age.

Investing in a cask or two is becoming increasingly popularInvesting in a cask or two is becoming increasingly popular
Investing in a cask or two is becoming increasingly popular

As a result, increasing numbers of investors faced with soaring inflation rates are turning to whisky casks as the tangible asset of choice.

“Common sense dictates that the longer you hold on to your whisky cask, the more coveted it will become, which is why it’s being seen as a stable option to invest in,” explains Sam Brooks, founder and MD of stockists and traders Brooks and Whitaker, which trades under the name Vintage Acquisitions.

“Up to four-fifths of a whisky’s characteristics come from the cask. The longer the whisky is held in a cask, the more it extracts components from the wood which all add to its taste, aroma and colour.”

How global demand is impacting the industry

Scotch whisky exports broke all records in 2022 when they reached more than £6 billion. The industry had already seen a boom with the suspension of tariffs in the USA several years ago and this high demand is continuing to create growth opportunities; other drivers include the return of drinkers to bars and restaurants along with the surge in international travel and tourism.

The potential lifting of tariffs on Scottish whisky to India, now the world’s largest consumer of whisky, would open this market to a wider range of producers and could deliver a huge export boost, according to experts. Other key emerging markets include Brazil and China, which continue to grow strongly, while higher disposable incomes in the Asia-Pacific region are also driving an increasing thirst for single malt there.

What are the challenges and opportunities producers face?

The industry has seen substantial investment in production facilities as well as tourist attractions, from the huge Johnnie Walker site on Edinburgh’s Princes Street to more boutique distilleries branching out into new categories.

As the price of bottles and casks continues to rise, new distilleries are in the pipeline: VisitScotland lists 14 new venues for making its national drink.

But while this accelerated growth is bringing its challenges, like a shortage of quality casks and bonded warehousing space, Vintage Acquisitions is rising to meet them. The company is soon to open its own base in Campbeltown in Argyll: the warehouse, which will store 41,500 casks of whisky, will be accepting casks by the start of 2024. There will be a tasting room and even overnight accommodation so investors can really make the most of selecting a tangible asset they can see and taste.

This highlights the commitment and involvement at Vintage Acquisitions where the team offer expert advice without any hard sell. They will talk you through all your options to find what works best for you, not anyone else, and then when it’s time to sell up there are 6 flexible proven exit strategies.

Make the most of a golden opportunity

To download a comprehensive whisky cask investment guide, head to the Vintage Acquisitions website.

Or why not visit their London Bridge HQ to sample some of the finest Scotch around while you make up your mind? They work with some of the best distilleries north of the border to source a huge range of cask whisky at the best possible prices.

And that’s not even the best news?... whisky is classed as a 'wasting asset', which means there is no capital gains tax to be paid when it is sold – and that means more profit for you.

This is paid-for content on behalf of Vintage Acquisitions, and does not necessarily reflect the views or advice of LondonWorld. As with all financial investments, your investment may go down as well as up, and people are recommended to take financial advice.

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