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Whisky investment firm offers trading update

The “world’s first stock exchange” for maturing Scotch whisky, Whisky Invest Direct, has seen its customers purchase enough liquid to make five million bottles of Scotch within the firm’s first year of operation.

Whisky Invest Direct was co-founded by Rupert Patrick just over a year ago

Just over 12 months since its launch, Whisky Invest Direct has seen more than 2,500 accounts opened, with customers buying 1.6 million litres of pure alcohol and spending £4.5m on maturing spirit.

Supplies from five producers – Diageo, Beam Suntory, Whyte & Mackay, Glen Turner and Tullibardine – are now available for trading on the platform, launched by Diageo’s former commercial director for Africa markets Rupert Patrick and gold and silver online exchange Bullion Vault in September last year.

The company, which claims to solve the “real problem” of diminishing cash flow in the industry, allows private investors to buy and sell Scotch whiskies early in their maturation process.

Since demand for aged Scotch whisky has put pressure on distillers’ cash flow in recent years, Whisky Invest Direct claims to offer an “attractive source of capital for distillers”.

Offering casks at wholesale prices, it allows “distillers, brand builders and stockholders” to trade whisky with each other in a “transparent” environment, financing the creation and maintenance of ageing stock.

In a trading update, co-founder Rupert Patrick commented on Brexit, claiming that the pound sterling’s recent devaluation “should prove a boon” to UK exporters, with overseas demand for Scotch whisky rising 2.5% last year in non-Sterling terms.

“It bears repeating that nowhere else in the world can make Scotch whisky besides Scotland. Built over the last 150 years, its global brand is protected by UK and – for now – EU law,” he said.

“Yes, other brown spirits also continue to grow, including American Bourbon, French Cognac and Japanese whisky. But none comes close to matching the spread, never mind the depth, of Scotch whisky’s global sales.

“Last year the French drank 40 times as much Scotch as they did Cognac. Mexico now spends nearly as much on Scotch as it does on Tequila. Japan’s own whisky industry relies on Scottish supplies of new spirit, buying 82% of all Scotch exported younger than 3 years old since 2010.”

He added: “Scotch export demand today sees three cases (of 12 bottles each) leave Scotland for overseas markets every second. Global sales have grown 1.5% per annum by volume over the last 30 years, and more than twice that fast by value. Demand has deepened as it spreads, with 27 national markets now buying more than half-a-million cases each every year – up from 14 in 1985.

“Whatever trade deals are now needed or brokered, it’s hard to see the world actively turning away Scotch whisky.”

HMRC figures released by Whisky Invest Direct, and later confirmed by the Scotch Whisky Association, showed that Scotch whisky volume exports had returned to growth for the first time in three years.

Earlier this month, Rupert Patrick relaunched his family’s historic James Eadie Scotch brand under the brand-building arm of Whisky Invest Direct.

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