We've recently completed one of the most in-depth evaluations of the secondary whisky market that we've ever undertaken.
We have looked at approximately 310,000 confirmed sales of single malt scotch whisky bottles through dedicated UK based online whisky auction websites between mid-2011 to mid-2019.
The data we have looked at shows that the number of bottles coming to auction has consistently risen over the years, with the secondary whisky market worth over £20 Million in 2018.
However, this increase in supply combined with the probable uncertainty around Brexit and a weakening pound has led the average price per bottle to fall in 2018 for the first time in 6 years.
Average bottle prices in 2017 were at £276.57 per bottle, with 59,633 bottles recorded as sold, giving 2017 a market value of just under £16.5 million.
2018 saw an increase in the number of bottles recorded as sold by 67% to 99,774, however as the pound has weakened and consumer confidence has dropped average bottle prices were left at just £207.96 for the year. Only just above the average price recorded in 2015 and valuing the 2018 market at £20.7million.
2019 has so far followed the trend started in 2018 with bottle numbers continuing to increase and average prices continuing to fall. As of May 2019, we have seen just over 43 thousand bottles recorded as sold, up 20% on this time last year, leaving the average bottle price in 2019 at just £143.40 per bottle.
With the value of the pound continuing to drop and the uncertainty around Brexit set to continue. It is impossible to predict when we might see a reverse in this trend and if the number of bottles sold at auction continues to rise we can only assume that for the foreseeable future the average bottle price will continue to drop.
It’s not all doom and gloom however, looking at specific bottles gives us a much less negative perspective. Bringing us to the conclusion that the dramatic fall in the overall average bottle price for the year could be in part to a greater number of lower value bottles arriving on the market.
When looking at higher value bottles from more sought-after distilleries we see that prices have held strong and even increased while the market average has dropped. When looking at bottles such as the Black Bowmore, Macallan 1961, Laphroiag 40 years old, Ardbeg 1815, The Macallan Masters of Photography Rankin Edition and the Dalmore Astrum. They have all increased in value since the start of 2018 when average bottle prices across the market began to weaken.
|Black Bowmore – The Last Cask||Nov 2017 – Jan 2019||^ 63.5%|
|Macallan 1961||Dec 2017 – Feb 2019||^ 37.1%|
|Laphroaig 40 Years Old||Dec 2017 – Mar 2019||^ 26.0%|
|Ardbeg 1815||Feb 2017 – Jan 2019||^ 1.3%|
|Macallan Rankin||Jul 2017 – Apr 2019||^ 140.7%|
|Dalmore Astrum||Jan 2018 – Feb 2019||^ 15.3%|
The average bottle price can be a deceiving measure of how the secondary market is performing. If we look closer at individual bottles, we still see prices continuing to rise, going against the trend of the broader market. Take, for example,
Black Bowmore - The Last Cask
The Black Bowmore “Last Cask” was bottled at 50 years of age in 2007 with only 159 bottles produced. Between July 2017 and January 2019, we have seen a rise of over 66% in the value of this bottle including 63% of that occurring since November 2017.
The Macallan 1961. This bottling limited to just 379 bottles was released back in 2001. Since 2013 we have seen its price rise by over 262% from £3,900 to £14,126 in Feb 2019. This includes a rise of 31% from Dec 2017, while the market average has been dropping.
Laphroaig 40 Years Old
Also, the Laphroaig 40-year-old released in 2001. With 3,300 bottles released, this bottle was nowhere near as limited as the Macallan 1961. However, it has still seen a rise of 274% between Jan 2013 and Mar 2019, with an increase of 26% from Dec 2017.
The Ardbeg 1815 was released in 2015 to celebrate the 200th anniversary of distilleries foundation limited to 400 bottles. From March 2016 to January 2019 the value of this bottle has increased by 33%. With a small increase of 1.3% between February 2017 and January 2019.
Macallan Masters of Photography Rankin
The Macallan Masters of Photography Rankin edition consisted of 1,000 bottles, released in 2008. With a most impressive increase in value of 140% between July 2017 and April 2019 this bottle has increased by over 477% since October 2013.
The Dalmore Astrum is a 40-year-old single malt from 1966 limited to just 500 bottles, released in 2011. The value of this bottle has risen by 215% since January 2014 with an increase of 15.3% between January 2018 and February 2019.
As the examples above show prices for the right bottles are still climbing, leading us to the conclusion that the average bottle price is decreasing due to a higher amount of lower value bottles entering the market.
This does illustrate though the importance of knowing which bottles to buy and which ones to leave. For more information on the Fah Mai Rare Whisky Collection or to make an investment in our collection please contact us.