Whisky investors will have much to toast in 2022, say experts

Investors in the whisky sector next year could raise a glass to bumper returns as supply shortages continue to bite.

Whisky-investment firm VCL Vintners, which manages around £70 million worth of stocks for investors, said distilleries are holding back spirit due to the limited amounts they have.

“This is particularly the case in the old and rare side of the market, as products are currently extremely hard to source,” said co-founder Stuart Thom in the firm’s outlook report for 2022.

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With stocks of rare and aged whisky in short supply, prices are expected to rise in 2022. Picture: Andy Buchanan/AFP via Getty Images.
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“Supply-chain issues have also hampered the sector, reflecting the wider trend in most industries and sectors globally. Across all age statements, prices are steadily increasing and the ‘majors’ are become scarcer; we are already seeing impressive returns on middle-market whiskies now, and expect to see this continue into the New Year too.”

Mr Thom also said next year is expected to see continuing strong investment by millennials into whisky, and VCL Vintners said 60 per cent of its clients are under 45, and nearly a quarter are aged 25 to 34. “This new breed of investor has more information than any before, quite literally at their fingertips on their smartphones,” pointed out Mr Thom.

“The instability of the markets under the forces of Covid variants, supply chain bottlenecks, and the energy transition, is pushing investors to seek alternative ways to grow their money, and a growing number of savvy millennials are finding whisky,” said Mr Thom.

VCL said it also expects to see increased demand for brokers to support purchases of whisky casks via cryptocurrencies and to offer more sophisticated digital and blockchain solutions.

Early next year, the London-based company plans to launch Metacask, a new blockchain marketplace for whisky where investors will be able to use their digital wallets to invest across the firm’s stock.

In March this year, VCL signed a deal with Annandale Distillery, which is based in Dumfries and Galloway, which entitles it to half of Annandale's output each year – some 276,000 litres – for sale to investors. Clients will be able to receive a clear market price for all grades of single-cask, single-malt whiskies from the distillery.

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