High spirits for those investing in whisky

investing in whisky

There are very few in this fine country that grew up without an appreciation for our local liquid gold, whisky. This fine drop that most of us would have developed a taste for at just a wee young age, now presents a unique investment opportunity – that is, of course, if you have the willpower to keep from sampling the product.

In just the past 12 months, the value of top Scottish whiskies has risen by a staggering 40 per cent, outperforming all other “luxury assets” as an investment – including rare coins, fine art, fine wine and jewellery, none of which appreciated more than 12 per cent this past year, settling whisky as the clear winner in the game for profits.

In the last decade, those investors with the self-control to keep from taking a taste, were able to enjoy returns of a significant 582 per cent.

It’s suggested that the cause of this trend is the increased demand for fine Scottish blends coming out of the Asian and Indian markets. Contrary to the exponential returns seen by some investors, the popularity of whisky across the pond is actually due to its relative affordability (roughly £150 per bottle for an excellent limited-edition single malt) and an increase in wealth, thus a desire to show it off with such luxury items. As a status symbol for the wealthy, whisky sales have increased by 44 per cent in India, 35 per cent in China, and 24 per cent in Singapore, amongst prestigious tipplers.

Whisky for the wealthy

The significant price growth of rare single malt whiskies shows that the appetite for new alternative asset classes remains strong among high-net-worth investors. It’s the passion that buyers worldwide share for investing, collecting, and sometimes drinking the best and rarest Scotch whisky ever made.

So deep is the desire for Whisky from China, that Hainan Airline launched direct flights between Beijing and Edinburgh to ship wealthy investors straight to the motherland to make their investments. It is speculated that a 92-year old bottle of Macallan whisky, which was sold in 2018 at a record high of $1.5 million, likely ended up finding a new home in Asia.

Boom time for local distillers

This trend is not only creating a craze amongst investors, who are spending big on liquid assets but unsurprisingly this is also causing quite a stir at the distilleries, with Scottish distillers racing to build out new facilities to cater to the whisky tourists and investors. Diageo was quick to jump on the bandwagon, announcing their intentions to invest $240 million on whisky-themed tourist attractions and visitor centres, and a promising ten new Scottish distilleries have announced plans to open their doors.

Of course, the whisky game is a long one, due to the ageing requirements. Those setting up distilleries today are not going to bring in a profit for some time, this means there is a lot of money being put down simply thanks to passion and faith that this market will continue to boom for some time to come.

With so much competition, however, simply opening doors in the land of Scotch does not guarantee success.

Artisanal products, digital distribution

The draw of whisky, both to distillers and enthusiastic consumers, is the artisanal, earthy, slow pace in which it is developed, making it a sample of a simpler era where good craft took time. While this slow, old-school style is good for the drop, the same cannot be said about the marketing of these brands, products, and the activities they are offering to consumers.

Whether setting up a new distillery today or expanding the facilities of an existing brand, the truth in the digital age is that branding and digital marketing are how you stand out from the crowd. When vying for the attention of international consumers, the product is not able to speak for itself – there is no way that foreign consumers online can smell or taste the high-quality products on offer. They are reliant on marketing messages coming to them to filter and determine which brand connects with them, which reflects their values, their aesthetic and their taste – all described carefully through content meeting the consumer via the brands’ website or online marketing activities.

The benefit of digital is that brands do not have to be the most established to be able to lead the pack. In the digital world, even brand new distillers can assert themselves in the front, all they need is a strong marketing message and a marketing partner who knows what they are doing to get them in the lead.

Local vs global

In an expanding market, where major players like Diageo will come in hard with a killer marketing arsenal, there is no opportunity for purist producers to bank on the quality of their product, against the digital marketing spends of competitors with deep pockets. While it’s unlikely that local distillers will compete with the budgets of food and beverage super weights, the beauty of digital is that the value is not always in the spend, it’s in the smarts, and a lot can be achieved with a humble budget.

Working with companies like Whisky Broker or Eden Mill as an example, they were in need of help to tell their brand story, a unique distillery and brewery deep-rooted in history, creating compelling new ranges, crafted with patience and commitment to quality. Eden Mill came with a diverse range of customer needs, from the discovery of the brand, tours of the distillery, through to the product range they sell. Following extensive research, it was identified that while the brand founding came from the quality of the products they were producing, customer loyalty was actually gained because of their values. Their customers connected with the story behind the brand, not just the products that went into the products.

Considering this, Adeo crafted an award-winning e-commerce site, designed to connect consumers to the values of Eden Mills, compelling them to engage and purchase, which ultimately resulted in a 6.57 per cent increase in Eden Mills online orders, a 138 per cent increase in tour bookings, and a 235 per cent increase in revenue overall.

It is more critical now than ever that brands work with specialists who can communicate their message to their desired audience, using equal parts creative, data and insights to ensure that campaigns capture hearts, and are also engineered to drive results.

Adeo offers website and marketing services to the food and beverage industry across Scotland, including Eden Mill and Highland Chocolatier. We work with local, artisanal brands to help them keep up with the ever-changing demands of the Scottish and international consumer, by enhancing their online presence to draw customers to their door, as well as enabling online purchasing for those with a taste for their brand abroad.

If you’re a distiller, or food and beverage brand looking to get ahead of your competition and drive customers to your website or doorstep, it’s time to get in touch with Adeo today on 0141 218 4422 to see how we can boost your online orders, increase tour bookings and exponentially accelerate your revenue.

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I would definitely recommend Adeo for a high quality and professional service, and for those looking to really take their website to the next level!

- Conor Graham, Ecommerce Manager, Eden Mill

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