Thanks to intoxicating whiskey prices, investors are pouring cash into ‘liquid assets’

Thanks in large part to growing demand for whiskey across Asia, whiskey was the most appreciative luxury asset last year.


March 10, 2019

Over the past year, high-end whiskey outperformed all other “luxury assets” as an investment, according a recent, non-sobering report.

As Scottish firewater becomes more popular in markets across the globe, the value of high-end bottles of whiskey is rising even faster than their owners’ blood alcohol levels.

Liquid assets

Bougie booze-buyers have some serious appreciation to appreciate: According to the impossibly pretentious-sounding “Knight Frank Rare Whisky 100 Index,” rare whiskey bottles appreciated 40% in value over the past year. 

Other similarly snobby luxury assets, on the other hand, appreciated far less spectacularly: Rare coins appreciated 12% and both high art and fine wine appreciated 9%. Jewelry actually depreciated by 5%.

So, what led to this boom in high-quality hooch? 

An intoxicating status symbol 

Sales of traditional Scotch whiskey are booming in popularity across Asia: In 2018, sales of whiskey increased 44% in India, 35% in China, and 24% in Singapore.

Driven by Chinese drinkers’ demand for Scotch, an airline created the first direct flights from Beijing to Edinburgh last year. Now, deep-pocketed Chinese investors are regularly flying straight to Scotland to invest in the premium whisky motherland.

Last year, a 92-year-old bottle of Macallan whiskey set a record when it sold for $1.5m. The buyer was anonymous, but the auctioneer who sold it guessed it could have ended up in Asia.

Where the whiskey flows like wine

Inspired by the increased global demand, Scottish distillers are building out new facilities to cater to whiskey tourists.

Diageo, the British multinational booze conglomerate, recently announced plans to invest $240m on whiskey-themed tourist attractions and visitor centers. Last year, 10 new Scottish distilleries announced plans to open.

But where there’s a booze boom, there’s sure to be Scotch scandal: Last year, a Chinese millionaire paid $10k for a single glass of whiskey that turned out to be counterfeit. Researchers who recently tested a sample of 55 “rare” whiskeys found that 21 of them were fake.

Daily briefings, straight to your inbox

Business and tech news in 5 minutes or less

Join over 1 million people who read The Hustle

Psst

How'd Bezos build a billion dollar empire?

In 1994, Jeff Bezos discovered a shocking stat: Internet usage grew 2,300% per year.

Data shows where markets are headed.

And that’s why we built Trends — to show you up-and-coming market opportunities about to explode. Interested?

Join us, it's free.

Look, you came to this site because you saw something cool. But here’s the deal. This site is actually a daily email that covers the important news in business, tech, and culture.

So, if you like what you’re reading, give the email a try.