Personal Investment in scotch whisky in cask - 1

Investing could be a case of whisky sour

by ANDREW MOODY, Daily Express 26 June 1996

You have heard of the 1849 gold rush, now it is the 1996 whisky galore rush to the Scottish Highlands.

Several companies - mainly advertising in glossy up-market magazines - are luring people to put their money into Scotch whisky.

Many are predicting incredible returns of 16 per cent a year, or 26,000 per cent over a 30 year period.

The last big alternative investment - ostrich farming - ended in tears. Whisky making is a more respectable venture, but it is by no means a safe one.

Such schemes are frowned upon by The Scotch Whlsky Association, the distilling industry's leading body.

"There is no whisky spot market, exchange or investment regulatory body,- said Campbell Evans, the Association's spokesman.

This type of business is highly speculative and we don't offer any advice on whisky as an investment."

Investors are being offered a hogshead (55 gallons), for £1,000 or a sherry butt (110 gallons), for just under £2,000, of clear whisky spirit.

This will then be put into a bonded Customs & Excise warehouse at the distillery, where it is supposed to increase In value.

John Grant, managing director of the J & G Grant distillery, which makes Glenfarclas whisky, believes investors are being taken for a ride."I think it is an absolute rip-off, nothing more, nothing less."

The Problem with whisky investment compared to wine is that it is impossible to buy a rare vintage.

Simon Coughlin is a director of Law Reserve wine merchants, which is offering investment in Springbank whisky, one of the finest single malts.

The company quotes an 18 per cent annual return as "probable" in its literature.

We buy a hogshead from Springbank for £700 and our £1,000 offer to the public includes storage," he said.

"Even if the market collapsed, you could end up with 450 bottles of fine whisky in ten years time. It is obviously not a mainstream investment but we never market it as that."

Stephen Jupe, managing director of Marshall Wineries, which offers investors the chance to buy into the lesser known Grandtully whisky, said:

"Our clients are older more mature people who can bear the truth, and we don't make claims about spectacular returns, but we think it is a good alternative investment."