On the off chance that someone somewhere accidentally clicks a link and ends up on this page – Welcome!
I’ve been collecting Irish Whiskey for a few years now and often found it bizarre how some whiskeys explode in value over a very short period of time, and other (far superior) whiskeys have almost no movement in price. The whole purpose of this blog, and “the survey” is to try and generate a greater understanding of value in the market.
In the coming months, I’ll be posting my thoughts on various labels, brands, bottlings and sets etc – but in this initial post, I want to simply give some basic advise on prudent collecting, how potentially we can protect ourselves from being caught out.
Value is a funny thing. Everybody understands the concept of supply and demand, but in the world of whiskey collecting, there often seems to be something else driving prices. Information, emotion, or in some cases too much whiskey influencing our bidding on auction sites!
I made all the “newbie” errors such as assuming prices in Whiskey shops were the actual value of bottles; overpaying for a bottle I thought was something else; and buying pretty bottles randomly, rather than focussing on strong brands or sets.
We’ve been riding an incredible wave of success with Irish whiskey in general, but just remember – booms are followed by busts, and bubbles burst. So when you click that “bid” button, or before you agree to purchase a bottle on a facebook page, think to yourself: “If the market collapses tomorrow and nobody buys this – will I get enough value from looking at this bottle on a shelf for the next 10 years, or is it something I would ever open?”
So here are some of my tips that have worked for me over the years, and will hopefully benefit you also:
- The Collection: Decide on what you specifically want to collect. Its so easy to buy something because you like the look of it, but its is a poor strategy for collecting. You’ll end up with lots of stuff you won’t want, need, or would be able to shift (I’ve been there). Pick a set/brand that you like, research the history, and understand the market. Half the fun of collecting is learning the little stories that sit behind the collection – not just the bottles.
- Stick to a budget. Are you collecting Jamesons, or Midletons – very different price points, very different ROI, and very different risk profiles. Once you understand the value (financially & emotionally) of the bottles you want to collect – make sure you stick to your guns when it comes to your monthly expenditure. Otherwise you could soon find yourself overstretched, and struggling to pay bills. Not somewhere you want to be.
- Understand the condition the rarity of the bottle. Don’t overpay just to get a bottle. I’ve seen many situations where people have spent over the odds on a bottle just because they want it – despite it being freely available or in poor condition. If however the bottle you’re searching for is genuinely difficult to find, then you need to decide if the sellers price is worth paying.
- Keep records. I use Google Sheets (It’s free and I can download the app to your phone). All it simply does is keep a record of all the bottles I have, or want or have, and what I paid for them, or would be willing to pay for them. But having it available/editable on my phone is hugely beneficial when a deal pops ups!
- Know your buyer/seller! Auctions are typically pretty safe for buyers/sellers, but if you’re trading on facebook or forums, please please do your research. Look at their profile; ask for pictures in advance or the product. Have the sold to anyone else you know. Are they asking for cash up front. Do they want to meet in a poorly lit area with no cameras at 11pm down some side street? Use your common sense and be safe – and if cash is changing hands, buy a money pen! While getting caught out is highly unlikely, it only takes one bad soul to ruin the experience for you.
In later blogs I will go through some strategies I use to find and win bottles I’m searching for, so stay tuned – but up next – “Midleton Very Rare – the Macallan of Irish Whiskey?”
I’m keen to get some feedback! Let me know your thoughts either here or on the Facebook page, Instagram, or email. Are there any tips you’d add, Are there any Brands you want me to cover? Let me know.
And finally – If you want this blog to have better data and be more accurate – fill out the Survey as regularly as you can.