Whiskey investment is a controversial topic these days. But it really shouldn’t be. According to the Knight Frank Luxury Investment Index, rare whiskies grew in value by 586% over the past decade. That’s a healthy return of just about 19% per annum. Even the most lucrative of Wall Street ETFs couldn’t compare, and this during a stretch which financial analysts have dubbed the “Greatest Bull Market Of All Time.” Because the thing about high end whiskey is when people are making lots of money, it’s one of the most popular luxury items to purchase. And when times are tough? People turn to whiskey, just the same. In other words, it’s not just that it’s a proven asset—it’s a fairly recession-proof one.
And so there really isn’t any question as to whether or not you ought to invest your money in whiskey. The only question is who you’re going to invest it with. The past several years has seen the emergence of an entire cottage industry of companies specialising in cask whiskey wholesaling. Their role is to provide you with trustworthy liquid, in the barrel, that ought to see reliable returns. But they are not all created equal, of course. Some are making promises they can’t keep; delivering subpar liquid and kicking over many of the operational costs to the end consumer along the way.
Companies like Cask Trade, for example, make bold claims, leveraging strong language but backing it up with very little verifiable detail. The same could be said about another popular player in the field, Braeburn Whisky. Even their name suggests that this is some sort of historic distillery hugging the coastline of the Scottish highlands. In fact, it’s a multinational commodities dealer with corporate offices in places like Singapore and Barcelona. Their objective is to move product—in this case, whisky barrels—without the knowledge and passion necessary to understand the industry.
Whiskey And Wealth Club Testimonial
When it comes to whiskey investment, Whiskey & Wealth Club stands apart as a name that you can trust. With a proven track record of consistent excellence. With offices in both London and Dublin, the four-year-old company has cornered the market on premium casks of Scotch and Irish Whiskey at wholesale price. It is founded and managed by people who share an easily observable love for the liquid. They’ve already won over tens of thousands of loyal clients from across the globe and it’s easy to understand why.
For one, the partnerships they’ve formed with reputable distilleries is a reliable indicator that these stocks will perform well over time. We know by looking at Scotland’s example over the past 20 years that the better and more high-end the brand, the more desirable the casks are, and the more they sell for. This might seem obvious, but the degree to which name recognition steers cost cannot be understated. A barrel of Macallan at 30 years of age sells for £350,000—if you could even get your hands on it. By comparison, you could easily secure a 50-year-old barrel of Invergordon for around £15,000.
Invergordon is a solid distillery, specializing in grain spirit, as opposed to single malt. As such, it’s not a product that you’ll see in bottle on the shelf. Most general consumers have never heard of them. And in 10 years time, they’re unlikely to see their stock appreciate on a per-barrel basis. So it’s not the age that drives price, it’s the brand attached to it. Another meaningful reminder of such, from Ireland: casks of Midleton often sell for 10 times what Redbreast can receive. And this is the exact same spirit, distilled at the same historic facility in County Cork, even aged in the same barrels and in the same warehouses.
Whiskey investment, particularly in the realm of Irish Whiskey is a relatively new marketplace to navigate. The past few years have been marked by the massive return on investment for liquids in the Scotch and Japanese categories. All signs point to the fact that Irish whiskey will follow suit. Which means the time to get in is now. But it also means that there will be plenty of unqualified actors trying to cash in on the enthusiasm without delivering any sort of expertise to properly manager the capital. Whiskey & Wealth Club has a unique relationship with the Emerald Isle—their founder members are Irish and have made seismic waves in the realm of Irish Whiskey. Indeed. this is where their heart is at. And they know where the smart money plays are and where they are not.
It’s an exciting place to be and an exciting time to be there. Throughout the 19th Century and up until the 1920s, Irish Whiskey was the biggest selling whiskey on the planet. after American Prohibition and the global proliferation of blended scotch, Irish whiskey had all but been forgotten save for a few select brands. Those fortunes have changed quite considerably over the past decade. And today Irish exists as the fastest growing category of whisky on the planet! Whereas there was once only a handful of producers to speak of, now there are more then 35.
And yet there’s a caveat that comes with all of this growth: some of the new players on the seen are just not that good. The industry has a way of quickly rooting out the subpar producers. They won’t last long—and barrels of the liquid they laid down won’t amount to a hill of beans once they’ve shuttered. These circumstances highlights just how crucial it is to source your barrels from the distilleries that are built to last. When you can secure that spirit, you are very much getting your hands on liquid gold. Buying a cask of whiskey like that could be no less auspicious than winning the lottery. With one notable exception: if you’re doing it right—investing in whiskey with smart, interested partners—striking it rich involves far less luck.
Whiskey & Wealth Club offers casks only from the widely-recognized producers; world famous names of unparalleled repute. There is nothing left to chance here. They are working exclusively with distilleries that are renowned not just for quality, but who also retain a certain degree of exclusivity. This isn’t the mass-produced swill crowding shelves. Just look at their recent partnerships compared to that of competitors for easily observed examples of such. In Ireland, WWC has worked with Dublin Liberties Distillery, which produces no more than 500,000 Liters Per Annum [LPA] versus Great Northern Distillery—where most other Irish Whiskey wholesalers source from—where over 5 million liters are churned out every year. It’s simple supply and demand at work. And with a glut of supply like that, Great Northern is unlikely to ever be coveted as a premium product. When too much of anything is available, it’s always going to end up less valuable.
What’s worse is that the competing wholesalers sourcing this over-saturated whiskey don’t even include storage and insurance fees in with the price. Most of them will charge a minimum of €150 per year per barrel. WWC includes it all in the upfront cost of the cask. Whereas Whiskey & Wealth Club sell their casks of premium Irish Whiskey for just €2,900 with 5 years free storage and insurance (it’s €50 per year for storage and insurance thereafter), the competitors start at €3,300 and are offering a non-branded supply of whiskey—the Irish equivalent of the aforementioned Invergordon.
And so now you begin to see the actual controversy, where some of the skepticism weaves its way in. Because whiskey is as popular as its ever been, there is room for unscrupulous actors to come in and prey on that popularity. It’s these folks that are tainting credibility of the enterprise and giving a bad name to whiskey wholesaling at large. And when it comes to the damage their doing to investing in whisky in the scotch sector, specifically, their cynical approach is quite regrettable indeed.
Marking the difference between the get-rich-quick scams and a worthwhile investment opportunity are the people behind the scenes, pulling the strings. Jay Bradley, Founder and CEO of Whiskey & Wealth Club is a visionary in the space. A knowledge and passion for whiskey has defined his very being throughout the entirety of his adult life. It’s an ongoing journey that has brought him to every corner of the globe, in search of the finest spirit money can buy. He’s built this company from the ground up, growing it from scrappy startup to worldwide powerhouse in just four short years.
With that unprecedented success comes the obvious detractors—or ‘haters’ in the parlance of our times. Most of it is born of jealousy, of course. There are plenty of folks in the industry resentful of how Bradley stormed into the space and was able to make waves where many others before him fell flat. After all, he didn’t invent the wheel here, he merely built the most badass vehicle.
But really, a lot of the backlash stems from pure old fashioned ignorance. They just don’t understand how the model works, or claim that if this whiskey was so surely an appreciating asset, that the distilleries themselves wouldn’t be willing to get rid of the distillate. That sort of reasoning reveals a fundamental disconnect with the way aged spirit is financed.
Whiskey requires a set amount of time to mature before it can be sold; a minimum of three years is necessary before it can even be called Scotch or Irish Whiskey. And of course, most of the truly valuable stuff rests for decades. Well, distilleries need to be bringing in capital while they wait for that stock to come to maturity. And while they were historically able to turn to banks to help manage cash flow, the circumstances of the 2008 financial crisis made it much more difficult to secure that runway. Over the past decade, banks, in large part, have actually avoided working with anything but the most established of big brand boozes. While a lamentable reality, it also created the opportunity for private investors to purchase new make spirit, hold it—while it matures in a government bonded warehouse—and then eventually sell it.
In fact, there is historical precedence for this practice that extends far further back than just the modern era. For centuries there’s been a tradition of whiskey bonders and independent bottlers. These are third parties that didn’t distill the actually liquid, but instead took it in as their own. And as they assumed stewardship of the distillate it slowly matured into whiskey that was wholly unique.
Long before Single Malt was the most coveted luxury spirit on the planet, it was these independent bottlers that brought the style to shelf. And they’re still a big part of high-end Scotch today. Their impact is even being felt more and more in other styles of spirit including Irish Whiskey, rum, bourbon and rye—with some new offerings selling for far more than similarly aged liquids from the very same distilleries from which they were originally sourced. It serves as a reminder that making a great distillate is simply the beginning of an even more meaningful journey to follow.
All this is to say: stewardship is paramount. Even just a single barrel of whiskey isn’t an everyday investment for most. It’s a sizable purchase in the present that demonstrates a steadfast hope in its future. And for that you have to have faith in the people who are holding on to it for you—knowing that they have shared interest in that hopefulness.
In the case of WWC that is most literally the case. This is a company run by people who live and breathe whisky. They are invested in some of the very same stock that you’re buying into. And as such their fortunes are tied to your own. Importantly, these are people who love to pour great drams. They know the difference between good liquid and truly exceptional spirit. That’s knowhow that only comes from passion and experience in the space. You can’t expect to extrapolate it from a spreadsheet.
But you can—and should—expect your investments to be secure. Potentially, these are very significant savings you’re putting on the line. You need to feel confident that you’re working with people you trust, without question. And atop all its other value propostions, Whiskey Wealth Club offers peace of mind. After incorporating back in 2018, they became the first in the industry to register with Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs through the Warehousekeepers and Owners of Warehoused Goods Regulations (WOWGR). Through this registration, both with HMRC as well as with Irish Revenue Commissioners, WWC is able to afford its clients the added level of security that they conduct business with an upstanding business entity.
It’s not something that they’re required to do, and indeed many of their competitors still decline to partake in the lengthy process. But it’s something that will forever be a part of the Whiskey & Wealth business model: afford peace-of-mind and guarantee ease-of-access to world class whiskey. And unlike virtually all of the competitors, theirs’ is a one-stop shop, providing not only the insurance and storage—in government bonded warehouses—but a multitude of exit strategies. They’ll help you bottle your stock under your own label, sell it at auction to collectors, or even sell it back to brands/independent bottlers in need of mature stock. You could walk away with your very own ‘brand’ of whiskey with which to impress friends and family. Essentially, you’ve become your own independent bottler. It’s a small personal touch, but speaks to a larger truth inherent to the Whiskey & Wealth Club experience: in the realm of private cask whiskey ownership, they are nothing short of pioneers.
And they lead the way by all conceivable metrics…Costumer satisfaction, return on investment, due diligence, innovation, compliance. Whiskey & Wealth Club leads by example and the rest simply try their best to imitate the model.
Because ultimately there is something that underpins it all. It runs even deeper than any liquid in the stillhouse, and it’s something that cannot be easily replicated. As compelling as any liquid spirit is the power of kindred spirits. When you’re working with their team you don’t feel as if you’re being sold a bill of goods. You know you’re talking to a fellow aficionado; the sort of person you could talk about whiskey with for hours, compare notes, share thoughts on favorite bottlings, while sipping some of the same over at the local pub. This is perhaps the most compelling competitive advantage for Whiskey & Wealth Club—a personal one—and it starts at the top down with Jay Bradley. I believe in his know-how. I trust in the whiskey he wholesales. And I know great whiskey like this is all but guaranteed to be an appreciable asset. There’s nothing remotely controversial about any of it.