What is the process of buying and selling a whisky cask?

Buying and selling whisky casks is straightforward when you work with a reputable cask broker like Spiritfilled. We help clients buy and sell whisky casks every day of the week. Here are the four main steps to buying whisky casks - and then four simple steps to selling whisky casks.

The process of buying whisky casks

Step 1: Do your homework

As you would when making any large purchase, reflect before you act. 

First, consider the financial side. How much money are you comfortable spending? Can you afford to keep your money in the cask for the medium to long term? If you're buying with a view to then selling, what kind of return are you aiming for? These are basic but important questions to think about.

Second, find a reputable broker. Cask brokers are the easiest way to buy whisky casks. Make sure you find a partner you trust. Consider key due diligence questions. Do they have an established trading history? Do they hold the correct HMRC licence to trade in this regulated commodity? Do they have positive customer reviews? Are they a member of the Cask Whisky Association? Finding a good cask broker will make the whole process easier.

Step 2: Choose a cask

There's a whole range of cask styles to choose from. There are different distilleries, with different brand names. You can choose between unpeated and peated spirit. Lots of different cask sizes, holding different quantities of whisky. Many different cask styles and finishes, all of which will have different effects on flavour. And last but by no means least, differing ages. 

A cask broker will be able to help you choose a style of cask to buy. Once you've settled on a goal, they'll then search the market for a great cask that meets your brief.

Step 3: Buy the cask

Once you're happy with your choice, and found a fantastic cask to buy, it's time to complete the purchase. You'll agree a price either direct with the seller, or via your cask broker, and the paperwork will be drawn up. An important thing to remember is to ensure you, yourself, own the cask - rather than any intermediary. This important distinction protects your rights; read more about bailment here.

Step 4: store your whisky cask

Your whisky cask has to be stored in a bonded warehouse regulated by HMRC. You should consider insurance while the cask is in storage, so that you have extra protection. 

Then the only thing you have to do is sit back and relax while your whisky ages.

If you do want to play a more active role in your casks maturation, you could consider a finishing period. As your whisky ages, could re-rack your cask into a different style of cask, for example, a sherry or port cask. Known as finishing, this process layers extra flavours onto the whisky.

The process of selling whisky casks

Step 1: Get a valuation

Whether you're definitely going to sell, or just getting an update, you can ask an expert to value your cask. This will give you a sense of how much it's worth, at that given time, and in the current market context. If you worked with a cask broker to buy your cask originally, they'd likely be pleased to help you with a valuation.

To reach a valuation, the cask broker will compare your cask with current, and recent, sales of comparable casks - as well as using their own experience. This will help them reach a robust valuation, and give you a good idea of what your cask is worth.

Step 2: Find a buyer

There are typically three types of buyers: private buyers, into the industry, or into a cask broker. 

The easiest route is likely via a cask broker. Cask brokers will have a wide range of contacts looking to buy whisky casks, from private individuals, through to industry contacts. Cask brokers will represent you and aim to secure the best possible price, will also helping with the admin associated with the sale

Step 3: Draw up the paperwork

Once you've found a buyer and agreed a price, you or your broker will draw up a simple sales agreement to detail the transaction.

Step 4: Complete Payment

The final step is the easiest. Once everything is sorted, we'll wire you your funds. They should be in your bank account within days.

Buying and selling whisky casks with Spiritfilled

If you're looking to buy or sell whisky casks, we'd be pleased to help. Spiritfilled is an expert cask broker, and a member of the Cask Whisky Association. We help clients to buy and sell a whole range of single casks every day. 

For more information, you can contact us here and one of our experts will be pleased to help.

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