If you’re thinking about where to invest your cash during these uncertain times, you may not have to look much further than your whisky cellar.
According to findings from the BC20 Whisky Cask Index published in the UK’s Times, $100,000 in whisky casks procured in July of 2018 would be worth around $160,000 by the end of this past June. Perhaps even more surprisingly, it asserts that investing in the popular digital currency Bitcoin, the S&P 500 Index or even gold––a standard safe bet––would not have yielded the same level of returns.
“Societal turbulence is often a time when investors take stock of their portfolio and examine new ways in which they can protect and profit from their savings, this global pandemic is no different,“ said Samuel Gordon, managing director of Braeburn Whisky, in a press statement. “Investment in whole casks of whisky is a strategy that helps investors both build, and safeguard their wealth, whilst providing a diversified approach to investing,” Gordon further explained to The Times.
But for those who have been following the whisky market closely, this should come as no surprise. In Scotland alone, there are an estimated 22 million casks of aging whisky in storage. Distilleries were once far more hesitant to release their barrels preferring to gain the long-term profits from their matured contents. However, casks have become more and more available on the open market and cask collecting has gained momentum accordingly. Rare Whisky 101, a whisky broker and investment firm, has gone so far as to launch a bespoke cask brokerage service to meet increased demand from global whisky enthusiasts. And in Japan, an upstart distiller is attracting new clientele by letting you buy the cask and then aging it for you.
Though largely a safe bet, cask collecting does involve some risk. Evaporation can lead to a loss of up to two percent of the liquid housed within per year and holding on to it for too long can result in a tipple that’s overtly woody. But among the many upsides, collecting these vessels has one additional advantage none of its competitors do: If things go south, this venture is drinkable.