Global demand for fine whiskies surges amid stock market turmoil: top brands revealed

Global demand for fine and rare malt whiskies has continued to drive up both the volume and value of auction sales as savvy investors look beyond the stock market, according to a new report.

The study by investment bank Noble & Co reveals a 21 per cent increase in the value of fine and rare single malts this year, with the volume of bottles sold increasing by 23 per cent. Noble & Co worked with data science business Brainnwave to collect and analyse some 5.2 million “data points” from more than 580,000 transactions in the whisky auction market over the last decade.

The bank said the strong growth continued a multi-year trend of fine and rare whisky bottles being one of the best performing alternative investments available. Investors spooked by turmoil in financial markets have been turning to tangible assets and safe haven investments, it noted. Much of the growth in auction sales in 2022 was driven by demand for Scotch whisky costing between £100 and £1,000, which is typically home to younger investors as well as gift buyers. In this category, volumes to the end of September were already up by 30 per cent and value had increased by 40 per cent compared to the same period last year - with the key festive period still to come.

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Duncan McFadzean, head of food and drink at Noble & Co, said: “The secondary market for fine and rare whisky has remained exceptionally strong. With impressive value growth in the last three years, it is hard to argue against the financial returns of a rare whisky at the moment. However, economic headwinds are increasing, and we will be watching to see if a tighter fiscal environment leads to a slowdown in collectibles as it has for many financial assets.”

Renowned whisky consultant Blair Bowman said: “An investment bank’s perspective on the secondary whisky market is highly useful for collectors. This level of scrutiny and sheer volume of data is exactly what the market needs as it matures and diversifies. Increasing numbers of people are attracted to fine and rare whisky so the more clarity on the market we can bring, the better.”

The analysis also found that the volume of bottles of Scotch sold for between £10,000 and £100,000 is up 28 per cent on 2021. The fastest-growing whisky brands by volume in the secondary market are GlenAllachie, Springbank, Balvenie, Daftmill, Bowmore, Arran and Ardbeg.

McFadzean added: “While The Macallan continues to maintain its number one position for both volume and value in the secondary market, there has been wider growth of the fine and rare whisky market. As this happens, there is increasing headroom in the market for most types of investor, from the casual enthusiast to the dedicated, high net worth collector.”

Noble said the data was collated up to early October 2022 and the majority of the analysis refers to the time period from January to September. The recorded price includes the sale total, auction fees, and VAT. Data was secured from the main auction houses as well as a “meaningful proportion” of the auction sites.

Much of the growth in auction sales in 2022 was driven by demand for Scotch whisky costing between £100 and £1,000, which is typically home to younger investors as well as gift buyers.

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