Close Menu

Sotheby’s sales hit $159m in 2023

Auctioneer Sotheby’s saw its wine and spirits revenue reach US$159 million last year, driven by The Macallan’s record-breaking sale in November.

Macallan 1926 Adami whisky
The Macallan 1926 Adami smashed the previous auction record at more than US$2.7m

Sotheby’s released its 2023 Wine & Spirits Market Report, which revealed that the auctioneer surpassed 2022’s sales total of US$158m.

Spirits sales hit US$33m in 2023, up from US$31m the previous year. In 2017, spirits sales sat at US$4m.

Last year saw bidders in Asia dominate the spirits market, taking 55% of market share in the category. Meanwhile, US buyers remained the country spending the most on spirits.

In November, Sotheby’s achieved the highest grossing week of wine and spirits sales staged by an auction house, hitting US$50m across three regions within the same week.

Part of this sale was The Macallan 1926, featuring the Valerio Adami label, which set a new auction record for any bottle of whisky or wine ever sold, achieving US$2.7m. It surpassed the previous record of US$1.9m during a Sotheby’s sale in 2019.

“We sold as many wines and spirits by value in one extraordinary week in 2023, as the whole of 2013,” said Nick Pegna, global head of Sotheby’s wine and spirits.

Spirits accounted for 21% of all lots offered by Sotheby’s in 2023.

Furthermore, 19 Scotch whisky distillery records were set during one auction, the Distillers One of One sale.

The Macallan was the top-selling spirits brand with a 33% share of the category’s sales, followed by Japanese whisky Karuizawa (12%), Japanese whisky Yamazaki (8%), Moutai baijiu (6%), Pappy Van Winkle Bourbon (5%) and Scotch brand Bowmore (4%).

The number of auctions held globally by Sotheby’s in 2023 grew for its fourth year in a row, doubling pre-pandemic levels with a 17% increase in lots offered.

Sotheby’s said it is the global leader in single-owner auctions, which exceeded US$100m in sales for the first time.

It looks like you're in Asia, would you like to be redirected to the Drinks Business Asia edition?

Yes, take me to the Asia edition No