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Beginner's Guide to Collecting Whiskey

What to buy

The whiskeys you choose to build your collection with are entirely dependent upon the purpose of the collection – is this a hobby for your own personal enjoyment or is it an investment opportunity? For a lot of people, a whiskey collection is a mixture of both pleasure and potential profit. 

  • Whiskeys you like When starting a collection, purchase whiskeys that you enjoy drinking. Follow your own palate and see where it takes you. Your tastes may change over the years, and a more diverse collection could be pieced together without much conscious direction. If a bottle you’ve purchased doesn’t end up becoming a profitable investment, the last thing you want is to be stuck with a whiskey you don’t even enjoy drinking.
  • Whiskeys that follow a theme – Following a theme is an easy way to create a more selective collection. Consider purchasing collectable releases, commemorative/special editions, or rare bottlings. Or your theme could be whiskeys from a certain distillery (perhaps your personal favorite, or a top-end manufacturer) or from a specific area of production (e.g. Irish, Scotch, Japanese, etc.).
  • Rare whiskeys – Scarcity matters, especially if your main goal is to turn a profit. Truly rare whiskey, such as a 1926 Macallan Fine & Rare or bottles from “lost” distilleries that have stopped producing, can be sold for substantially more money than whiskey that’s easy to procure.

Make sure to do your research on the different recipes and techniques behind different whiskeys. Like most investments, the more you know about the product, the more likely you are to make wise (and profitable) purchases.

Where to buy

  • Duty free shops – The next time you’re at the airport, take a walk around their duty free shops. Many carry limited bottlings, and you avoid paying hefty taxes on expensive purchases. 
  • Distilleries – It’s always a fun experience to tour distilleries when traveling. After the tour, take a look around their shop to search for that exclusive bottle you’ve been wanting to add to your collection. 
  • Auctions – Many collectors utilize online whiskey auctions to research and purchase products for their collection. 
  • Clubs – Consider joining a whiskey club that offers exclusive tastings of high-end whiskeys. Or, if you’re a fan of a specific distillery, see if they have a fan club you can join – many distilleries provide opportunities to purchase limited bottlings to those who join their fan clubs.
  • Retail outlets – Starting your collection doesn’t need to involve international travel, expensive clubs, or whiskey auctions. You can easily find bottles to start your collection with at your local liquor store or retail outlet. 

How to store your collection

Fortunately, a whiskey collection is easier to preserve than say a wine collection. Whiskey is more durable, so it doesn’t spoil easily. However, there are a few rules you should follow in order to keep its integrity and enhance its value over the years.

  • Store bottles upright
  • Avoid overexposure to light
  • Avoid direct heat from the sun
  • Avoid temperature fluctuations
  • Avoid damaging the label/packaging

How to protect your collection

Consider adding additional coverage to your insurance plan, as a homeowners policy isn’t intended to cover valuable whiskey collections. Your Family Risk Manager can help you find a policy that protects your collection from damage, spoilage, and loss. If you aren’t currently working with one of our professionals, please click below to read more about our Private Client services and to find a specialist near you. 

Insurance products and services offered through McGriff Insurance Services, LLC, a subsidiary of TIH Insurance Holdings, LLC, are not a deposit, not FDIC insured, not guaranteed by a bank, not insured by any federal government agency and may go down in value.

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