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Collectable single malt Scotch sales surpass £25m in H1 2019

The value of collectable single malt Scotch whisky bottles sold in the UK hit a record high of £25.8 million (US$32.1m) in the first half of 2019 – an increase of 58%.

Rare Whisky 101 co-founders Andy Simpson and David Robertson

According to analysts at Rare Whisky 101 (RW101), in the six months to end of June 2019 the highest average price per bottle was up during H1 2019 compared to H1 2018, reaching £361.65 (US$450.50) this year. However, this was a slight dip compared to H2 2018 when the highest average price was recorded at £377.91 (US$470). 

In volume terms, the number of bottles of single malt Scotch sold at auction in the UK during H1 2019 increased by 43.9% to 71,544.

Springbank claimed the top spot for the first time as the number one distillery in the investor rankings, closely followed by silent distilleries Brora and Glenugie.

The Macallan moved from fourth position at the end of 2018 to seventh by the end of June 2019.

The value of the Apex 1000 index, which tracks the best-performing 1000 bottles of rare whisky, set its first half-year loss, falling by 0.26%. This was compared to an increase of 9.91% during the same period last year.

RW101 said the drop was due to the oversupply of whisky during the early months of 2019, the number of new whisky auction houses reaching “saturation point” and a decline in The Macallan’s performance.

‘Continued uncertainty’ 

“On the back of 10 subsequent years of growth in the investment performance of rare whisky, we have seen an oversupply of bottles, the continued proliferation of specialist whisky auction houses, and a record amount of money spent at auction all combine to produce the rare whisky investment market’s first ‘blip’ since we started reporting these results,” said Andy Simpson, co-founder of RW101.

However, Simpson said the dip does not signal “the start of a longer-term downward trend”.

He said: “In fact, looking the last three months of H1 alone (April to June) the Apex 1000 index returned to slightly more significant growth of 1.29%, moving from 825.92 points to 836.55.

“While the broader market might be showing some signs of stress, there are plenty of pockets of growth for those who do their research and time their market entry/exit well: as with all investments.

“For example, in contrast to the Macallan’s secondary market woes, Springbank has turned in an incredible performance, claiming top spot in the investor rankings for the first time.

“We remain confident that the right bottles from the right distilleries will continue to offer a strong investment proposition.

“In fact our later than usual reporting of the half-year figures has allowed us to see growth return to the market as the supply/demand equation has re-balanced.

Simpson also said it would be difficult to predict how the market will perform later in the year as the UK faces “continued uncertainty over the UK’s post-Brexit future”.

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