UK Enterprise Awards 2023

38 | UK Enterprise Awards 2023 Apr23149 Best Whisky Investment Management Specialists 2023 Whisky Investment UK® is an award-winning company dedicated to the wholesale of cask whisky. The firm is approved and licenced by HMRC to store both bulk and casked whisky in duty suspense at any approved Scottish warehouse. We speak to Darren Hughes to find out more about the appetite for this unusual investment as the firm celebrates success in the UK Enterprise Awards 2023. Whisky Investment UK® (WIUK) is committed to helping investors around the world unlock the power of whisky investment to build stronger and higher yielding portfolios. Part of the Silvercrest Energy Group, which was incorporated in 2011, the firm’s relationship over the past decade with the Scottish Whisky Industry as an advisor to both distilleries and HMRC bonded warehouses, has enabled it to build long term relationships with experts across the industry. Today, WIUK works alongside a global network of wealth managers who, along with their clients, build whisky portfolios that protect wealth and deliver unparalleled benefits. With the current global economic uncertainties as they are, it seems that there has never been a more perfect time to start investing in cask whisky. Darren Hughes, WIUK’s Head of Stock and Logistics, tells us a little more about the process. “Our passion for whisky is not just as an asset class but as an experience and has allowed us to partner with some of the leading distilleries, auction houses, whisky event companies and bonded warehouses, giving us unparalleled access to some of the most exclusive and rare whisky casks available.” As an approved and licenced Warehouse Keeper by HMRC (WOWGR) HMRC Excise ID: GBOG119867200 WIUK both holds and stores bulk and cask whisky in duty suspense in any HMRC bonded warehouse across Scotland. By being able to purchase whisky casks in this way, the company’s “bulk buying power” allows for it to negotiate discounted prices, which it can then, in turn, can pass directly onto its clients. “We provide a full 360 service to our clients, from helping them purchase grade A whisky from some of the most prestigious distilleries in Scotland, to a full management service including storage, insurance and the regauging of our clients’ casks,” Darren continues. “We also assist our clients on their preferred exit of their cask, including a full bottling service.” But why is whisky so appetising an investment right now? Well, first of all, in order to earn Scotch whisky denomination, a newly distilled spirit must remain in its oak cask for at least three years. Of course, as devotees will know, maturing the whisky for longer is desirable because it tends to yield better results. While some might see eight years as a minimum requirement, not least for the final bouquet and flavour, connoisseurs tend to prefer a more mature product for consumption. Twelve years – or longer – is a useful yardstick. “Without a doubt, buyer interest is strong,” Darren elaborates. “More than 20 million casks lie maturing in warehouses in Scotland waiting for investors to discover and appreciate them as new investment opportunities. At the end of 2020, some 133 whisky distilleries were operating in the country.” According to new figures recently released by the Scotch Whisky Association, global exports of Scotch Whisky grew to more than £6bn for the first time in 2022. Last year, the total value of Scotch Whisky was up by an impressive 37%, to a value of 6.2bn. In number of bottles exported around the World, this also increased by 21% to 1.67bn. Although India is now the largest Scotch Whisky market by volume, taking over France, Scotch Whisky is only 25% of the Indian whisky market. Scotch whisky currently has a 150% tariff on imports of Scotch, the easing of this is predicted to add an additional £1bn of growth to the industry over the next five years. “A whisky cask is essentially equal to a gold mine,” enthuses Darren. “They’re progressively coveted as dependable supports against seasons of financial vulnerability. Similarly, to gold, they’re recognised as one of the most secure assets you can hold. We are here to give you a basic approach to appreciate the advantages obtained via whisky cask investment.” If you’re interested to learn what sort of money you’d be looking to part with, here are a few recent investment opportunities which caught WIUK’s eye as potentials for clients. They include a BenRiach 2008, in hogshead size (225 to 250 litre) casks, sufficient for 311 bottles and valued at £17,900; Tomatin 2014 in sherry butt casks (475 to 500 litres), containing 692 bottles and priced at £19,550; Ardmore 2010 casks (barrel size), equivalent to 217 bottles and available to investors for £9,450; and Tamdhu 2016 whisky, in barrels with enough for 263 bottles. This variety has a relatively accessible price tag of just £2,550. As if that wasn’t enough to convince you to take the plunge, WIUK was recently recognised for its dedication and commitment in the UK Enterprise Awards and named Best Whisky Investment Management Specialists 2023, a very worthy accolade and one which Darren is understandably delighted to receive. Now, as the future beckons and the whisky investment industry grows ever-stronger, Darren and the team have their sights firmly set on growth over the next few years. “As our network of suppliers and client base grows, our goal for the latter part of 2023 is to purchase commercial properties in Scotland to facilitate storage and bottling of our clients’ casks,” he tells us enthusiastically. “Our longer term goal is to brand our own range of single malt whiskies.” Contact: Darren Hughes Company: Whisky Investment UK® Web Address: