How to Start Investing in Whiskey: A Beginner’s Guide

how to start investing in whiskey

In 2015, collectible whiskies sold on the market reached £9.56 million, up from £7.64 million in 2014. This upward trend shows how investing in whiskey can be profitable.

For example, The Rare Whisky Apex 1000 index, which tracks whiskey values, increased by 14% last year. It did better than investments in wine and gold, showing whiskey is a strong alternative investment.

Understanding the market is key if you’re looking to start investing in whiskey. Subscribing to a reliable newsletter like The Pot Still is a great start. It keeps you updated, especially on Irish whiskey.

Getting expert advice, such as from Andy Simpson of Rare Whisky 101, is also crucial. This guide is here to help you learn the basics of whiskey investment. It aims to make your investment journey successful and profitable.

Key Takeaways

  • The value of collectible whiskies has been rising exponentially, making it a lucrative investment option.
  • The Rare Whisky Apex 1000 index has outperformed traditional luxury assets such as wine and gold.
  • Expert sources like The Pot Still Newsletter and Andy Simpson from Rare Whisky 101 are invaluable for novice investors.
  • A thorough understanding of the market is crucial for successful whiskey investment.
  • Start your journey with comprehensive market research and reliable, expert guidance.

Understanding the Whiskey Investment Market

The whiskey market has grown a lot recently, showing it’s a good investment choice. In 2015, collectible whiskies were traded at £9.56 million, up from £7.64 million in 2014. This increase shows more people want quality and rare whiskey, making it more profitable than wine and gold.

Many factors affect the whiskey market’s growth. It’s important to study the market before investing in whiskey. Rarity is a big factor. Limited edition releases and hard-to-find labels are in high demand, raising their value. How quickly bottles are bought, by collectors and drinkers alike, also keeps the market moving.

The U.S. whiskey industry is worth about $11 billion and could reach $18 billion in five years. This shows there’s a big opportunity in rare whiskey. Some bottles, like a Johnnie Walker Masters of Flavour, sold for $24,000 in early 2023. Others have sold for over $6 million.

There are different ways to invest in whiskey. You could buy bottles, casks, or shares in whiskey companies. This lets investors pick what’s best for their goals and risks. For example, a single barrel can hold about 500 bottles, offering a big, but slow, return. Investors should plan to wait two to three years to see their investment grow.

With its ongoing growth and profit potential, it’s clear why wealthy people around the world are interested in whiskey. This interest helps keep sales strong and ensures the market stays stable and keeps growing.

Year Collectible Whiskies Traded (£ million)
2014 7.64
2015 9.56

Why Invest in Whiskey?

Whiskey investing is an exciting way to diversify your portfolio. It brings the chance for high returns and unique experiences. The whiskey market is growing fast. This makes it an attractive choice for investors looking for short-term or long-term gains.

Potential Returns and Market Growth

Whiskey investment can yield high returns. A single malt from Glenfiddich sold for £830,000. An Ardbeg cask set a record by fetching £16 million. The Rare Whisky Icon 100 index has risen 400% since 2013. This shows the potential for making money by flipping whiskey bottles.

The demand for whiskey is booming worldwide. The U.S. industry alone is valued at $11 billion. It’s expected to reach $18 billion in five years. These figures highlight the market’s growth potential.

Rarity and Quality

Whiskey’s value is driven by its rarity and quality. Older whiskies command higher prices due to their richer flavors. Some have sold for a fortune at auctions, indicating strong demand.

Investing in cask whiskey has given returns of 8% to 12% annually. Scotland’s distilleries are maturing 22 million casks. Investors wait two to three years to see their value grow.

Comparison with Other Asset Classes

Whiskey investment is unique compared to other assets. Unlike stocks and real estate, it gains value over time without dividends. Single malt whiskies have seen a price jump of 586% in ten years.

Companies like Brown Forman and Diageo highlight whiskey’s appeal. It offers a interesting alternative to conventional investments. This makes whiskey a standout choice for those looking to diversify.

Different Types of Whiskey Investments

There are many ways to invest in whiskey, each with its own benefits and things to think about. You might like collecting bottles, buying casks, or investing in distillery shares. It’s key to get the details of each investment kind.


Investing in whiskey bottles is popular for its easy access and chance for big gains. Rare bottles, especially those from famous distilleries, can be very valuable. In early 2023, a bottle of Johnnie Walker Masters of Flavour was sold for $24,000. Some rare bottles have even reached over $6 million at auction. The value of these bottles greatly depends on how well-known the distillery is and how rare the bottle is.

whiskey collector investing


Buying whiskey casks means you own barrels of whiskey that age over time. Each cask can fill about 500 bottles. Cask investment can be profitable but comes with risks, like the chance of the whiskey spoiling. Doing good research is crucial. Many investors keep their casks for two to three years to let the whiskey mature. There have been many success stories in cask investing, showing the potential for great returns with the right knowledge.

Distilleries and Brands

Investing in whiskey distilleries and brands usually means buying shares in these companies. How well the brand is known plays a big part in this kind of investment. The value of your investment can be directly affected by the distillery’s reputation and its standing in the market. The whiskey industry in the U.S. is expected to grow significantly in the next five years. Investing in well-known brands can lead to good gains over time.

Investment Type



Bottles High liquidity, significant returns Dependent on rarity, reputation
Casks Potential for remarkable maturation value Requires thorough research, risk of spoilage
Distilleries Exposure to market growth Impact of brand equity, industry risks

Investing in whiskey can be rewarding but needs a thoughtful approach. Knowing about bottles, casks, and shares helps you make smart choices. This way, you can get the most from your whiskey investment.

How to Start Investing in Whiskey

Starting your whiskey investment journey needs you to understand the market well. This whiskey investment guide aims to show you the first steps. The U.S. whiskey market is worth about $11 billion today. Experts predict it could grow to $16 billion to $18 billion in five years. This shows there’s a lot of room for growth. Here’s what you need to know to start:

  • Research and Knowledge: Start by learning from trustworthy sources. The Pot Still Newsletter and tips from experts like Andy Simpson from Rare Whisky 101 are great places to begin.
  • Types of Investments: Get to know the different whiskey investment options. These include bottles, casks, and distillery shares. A single whiskey barrel can contain about 500 bottles, providing lots of opportunities for investors.
  • Market Trends: Pay attention to which whiskeys and brands are becoming popular. For example, a Johnnie Walker Masters of Flavour bottle sold for $24,000. This shows a high demand for rare and quality whiskey.

To help you understand your options better, here’s a look at different whiskey investments:

Investment Type



Bottles Immediate ownership, potential high resale value Needs careful storage, risk of damage
Casks Grows in value over time, offers a lot of product Requires a long investment period, comes with storage fees
Distillery Shares Gives you a share in a company’s growth Comes with market risks, you don’t get a physical product

It’s crucial to understand how whiskey is made in this beginner’s guide to whiskey investment. Whiskey is typically made with about 5% pure alcohol and 95% water. Investing in big whiskey companies like Brown Forman and Diageo, or ETFs such as the ETFMG Whiskey & Spirits ETF, is also a good way to diversify your portfolio.

Finally, remember that whiskey investment is a marathon, not a sprint. Whether you choose bottles, casks, or brands, being patient and doing thorough research is important. Start your investment journey armed with knowledge and a strategic plan.

Choosing the Right Whiskey for Investment

To pick the right whiskey for investment, it’s crucial to know the key factors. Understanding what to look for helps you invest smartly in Scotch whisky. This is important as its demand and value are rising quickly.

Iconic Distilleries

Investing in famous distilleries is very important. Brands like Macallan and Ardbeg are very popular. They’re known for making top-quality whiskey that goes up in value. The history and fame of these distilleries make their whiskey more desirable.

Sought-After Bottles and Limited Editions

Rare bottles and limited editions are highly valued. For example, a special Johnnie Walker bottle was sold for $24,000 in 2023. These rare finds are sought after because they’re unique and hard to get. Their scarcity makes them great for investing.

Age and Vintage

The age of a whiskey greatly affects its price. Older bottles from closed distilleries are very valuable. Their value goes up because they are rare and can’t be made again. Knowing how whiskey ages is key to a good investment. Investing in barrels can also be profitable after a few years.

Key Factor

Impact on Investment

Iconic Distilleries Strong brand recognition and historical value
Sought-After Bottles High demand and premium auction prices
Age and Vintage Increased value over time due to rarity

Making the right whiskey investment needs deep market knowledge. Focus on well-known distilleries, rare bottles, and the whiskey’s age. This approach will help your portfolio grow.

Considerations Before Investing in Whiskey

Before investing in whiskey, consider your long-term financial goals and how much risk you’re okay with. Be sure to consider your budget too. You might need to invest around £30,000 to £50,000 and wait five to ten years to see returns. With careful planning and smart investing, you can make a good profit and avoid common mistakes.

whiskey investment planning

Investment Goals and Timeline

First, decide what you want from your investment. Are you looking for quick profits, or do you prefer seeing your capital grow over a long time? It’s crucial to set clear goals and plan your timeline. Remember, investing in cask whisky often requires patience. This type of whisky needs time to mature and increase in value. For instance, owning Scottish cask whisky has been profitable, with returns of 8% to 12% per year in recent decades.

Make a wise plan. Your investment goals should match how long you’re willing to wait.

Risk Appetite and Budget

Your level of comfort with risk is key to planning your investment. Whiskey investing comes with challenges like possible scams and liquidity issues. It’s important to decide if these risks are acceptable to you. Also, figure out a budget that you’re comfortable with and that fits your risk level. The cost of investing in high-quality casks or bottles can vary greatly. Make sure your budget is both realistic and manageable for a successful investment.

Due Diligence and Research

Doing your homework is critical for any investment. Look for trustworthy brokers and learn all you can before buying. Check out trends, how the whisky market is doing, and indices like the Rare Whisky Icon 100. This index shows returns of over 400% from 2013 to June 2022. Also, keep up with market trends, the value of exports, yearly returns, and global demand for Scotch whisky. Scotch makes up a huge 70% of all Scottish food and drink exports.



Investment Range £30,000 – £50,000
Holding Period 5 – 10 years
Risk Factors Liquidity, Scams, Physical Damage
Annual Returns 8% – 12% (for cask whisky ownership)

The Process of Buying Whiskey

When you decide to buy whiskey as an investment, you should know a few key steps. These steps help make your transaction both safe and profitable. They range from picking the right broker to understanding the laws involved. Knowing each step can help you decide wisely.

Selecting a Reputable Broker

Choosing a trusted whiskey broker is key to a good investment. Make sure they are properly licensed, with a WOWGR (Warehousekeepers and Owners of Warehoused Goods Regulations) license. This confirms they follow the rules and shows they’re trustworthy. You’ll know your money is in good hands.

Anti-Money Laundering Checks

Buying whiskey also involves following the law to avoid money laundering. Brokers do deep checks to block illegal actions and keep your investment safe. This step is essential to stay out of legal trouble.

Factor Importance
Broker Accreditation High
WOWGR License Essential
AML Compliance Critical
Legal Transfer Documentation Mandatory

Legal Transfer of Ownership

The legal side of whiskey investing is about officially changing the whiskey’s owner. This is done through a Bailment Contract. This contract is a must. It proves you own the whiskey while it’s stored. Good paperwork is vital for your investment’s protection and legality.

Monitoring Your Whiskey Investment

Managing your whiskey investment well is key for good returns. Brokers give you updates every three months and thorough analyses every two years. This helps you see how your investments are doing. They also offer an online dashboard. This lets you check on your whiskey portfolio anytime, from anywhere.

The whiskey industry could grow from $11 billion to $18 billion in the next five years. Keeping a close eye on your investments can really pay off. Using tracking tools, you can make smart choices based on the latest trends. For example, the Johnnie Walker Masters of Flavour sold for $24,000 early in 2023.

Knowing the value of what you own, like the Johnnie Walker Masters of Flavour, is crucial. Auction prices for rare bottles can go as high as $6 million. Investing in whiskey is for the long haul. The aging process, taking two to three years, increases the value of the barrels and improves your whiskey portfolio.

Diversifying your investments is smart, too. You can invest in the ETFMG Whiskey & Spirits ETF. It gives you a broader look at the global spirits market. This strategy helps lower the risks that come with whiskey investing.

Strategies for Selling Your Whiskey

Selling your whiskey investment involves various strategies to maximize returns. This is based on market trends and your goals. The market for collectible whiskies is growing. It now includes Scotch, Japanese, American, Irish, and world whiskies. Knowing the best exit strategy is key.

Selling on the Open Market

Selling on the open market is an effective method. E-commerce platforms are growing fast. The wine and spirits e-commerce market may reach $25 billion by 2025. This growth is partly due to the pandemic boosting home consumption. Choosing platforms with many engaged buyers is crucial for sales success.


Auctions are another great option. Sales of Single Malt Scotch Whisky at UK auctions grew by 33.37% in 2019. This increase brought the total to 143,895 bottles from the year before. Prestigious auction houses like Sotheby’s have seen growth. In 2020, spirits made up 18-19% of their portfolio. The strong demand from Asian buyers at auctions is notable. This demand shows the profit opportunity you can tap into.

Selling to Distilleries or Collectors

Selling directly to distilleries or collectors is a smart move. Collectors always want rare and high-quality whiskies. Rare Whisky 101 now tracks sales of 700,000 bottles, up from 12,000 in 2008. The rarity and market value of these whiskies make them very attractive. More collectors are insuring their whisky collections. This shows the high value of these assets, ranging from less than 100,000 pounds to millions.

Choosing the right method is important. Talking with knowledgeable brokers and understanding the market is key. This will help you get the best returns from your whiskey investment.

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About the author

Nathan Tarrant

Nathan has worked in financial services, marketing, and strategic business growth for over 30 years. He was the founder and COO of a Queens award-winning financial services company based in the UK, and a capital investment company in Virginia USA..

He operated as a financial & alternative investment advisor to delegates of the UN, World Health Organization, and senior managers of Fortune 500 companies in Geneva, Switzerland, after the 2008 financial crash.

As an avid investor, especially in alternative investments, he runs this blog, sharing his growing experience and views on alternative investments. You can see Nathan's full profile at his personal website
You can read his full bio on our about us page

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