Selling whisky casks: frequently asked questions

Selling whisky casks is an important process. As, more likely than not, at some point you will want to sell any casks you've bought. So, in this article, we thought we'd look at 10 frequently asked questions about selling whisky casks.

1: What factors determine the value of a whisky cask?

There are a variety of factors that will determine the value of your whisky cask. These include:

  • The size of the cask and how much whisky is left in the cask (accounting for any evaporation)
  • The distillery, and whether the cask includes naming rights
  • The age of the whisky, and whether it has passed any significant milestones (for example, it has to be a minimum of three years old to be scotch whisky)
  • It's current ABV (as the ABV can reduce over time)
  • How the whisky tastes

2: Can I sell my whisky cask if it's still maturing?

Yes, you certainly can, and indeed it is common to sell a whisky cask while it's still maturing. This then gives the buyer the choice as to what they do with it. They can choose to bottle it as-is, continue to age it, or perhaps re-rack it into a further cask for a finishing period.

3: Is it better to sell my whisky cask to a private individual or a company?

In a way, it doesn't matter. However, in practice, you may find it easier to sell to, or via, a whisky company, rather than trying to sell to a private individual unfamiliar with whisky casks. Importantly, if it is a private sale, make sure you have the correct paperwork in place to protect both parties.

4: Can I sell my whisky cask if it's from a lesser-known distillery?

Yes, there is an active market for casks from all distilleries, from the newest, through the most random, to the most famous. Like any product, a cask from a lesser-known distillery may not have the brand prestige of a more famous distillery. This may be reflected in the sales value of the cask. But as long as you price the cask at a fair market value, you should be able to sell it.

5: How do I determine the current market value of my whisky cask?

The current market value is calculated based on a whole range of variables (see the above answer). These variables are then compared with similar casks currently on the market. The most straightforward way to get a valuation is via a cask broker. Ask for a fee-free, obligation-free, quote; potentially a few quotes, so you can compare and contrast.

6: Are there any fees or commissions involved in selling whisky casks?

It depends on how, and where, you sell your whisky cask. You will, most likely, sell via an intermediary - benefiting from their expertise and, importantly, their network. There will be a fee or commission payable for this service. Always make sure to ask an intermediary for a full breakdown of the fees or commission involved in selling a cask, when you ask for a valuation. Then deduct these costs from that valuation so that you get a sense of how much cash you may be left with. This can help you make a fully informed decision.

7: What are the typical terms and conditions when selling a whisky cask?

The terms and conditions will cover the item being sold, the terms of the sale, and the process of the sale. By setting the terms and conditions out clearly on paper, it helps every party involved in the transaction understand the specifics.

8: Should I bottle the whisky myself before selling the cask, or sell it as-is?

As you own the cask, you can in theory choose to do whatever you like! But, you should perhaps think carefully. What's your motivation for bottling the whisky? If you're setting up a business as an independent bottler, for example, then bottling and selling casks is a core aspect of your business model. But if you're a private individual, you may want to stop and think before you bottle a full cask. You may have hundreds of bottles to sell. And there will be additional process, costs, regulations, and licence requirements. Speak with a cask broker to get further information.

9: Can I sell my whisky cask internationally?

Subject to the laws of individual countries, you can sell whisky casks internationally, yes. However, both you and the purchaser should familiarise yourselves with the laws of the country. And, it's worth remembering that if it's a scotch whisky the cask must remain in Scotland - it cannot be physically transferred to another country*.

*This is particularly true of scotch whisky, due to the regulations protecting that name. However, it is also fair to add that transporting any bulk alcohol between any country is not a straightforward process.

10: How long does it typically take to sell a whisky cask?

The key variable in how long it takes to sell a whisky cask is whether you have a buyer. The faster you find a buyer, the quicker the overall process. Many private individuals work with an intermediary, like a cask broker, to gain access to their network. In such cases, selling a whisky cask can be a relatively quick process [assuming the cask is priced at a fair market value].

Selling your whisky cask with Spiritfilled

If you'd like some help selling your whisky cask, we'd be pleased to help. We help our clients buy and sell whisky casks every day and have a wide network of individuals and industry contacts looking to buy good whisky casks. Contact us today, we'd be pleased to walk you through the process, and can help with a fee-free, obligation-free, valuation - so you have a better idea of what your cask may be worth in the current market.

Leave a comment

All comments are moderated before being published