Whiskey has become a very popular investment over the past few years. While it might be too soon to see what the return will be, as whiskey has to mature for years before it’s ready to be bottled, there are a growing number of companies offering consumers a chance to purchase full barrels of bourbon, scotch, and rye with the hope that they will appreciate in value. The latest opportunity comes from CaskX, which has partnered with Maryland rye whiskey distillery Sagamore Spirit.
Sagamore Spirit was founded by Kevin Plank, the billionaire who also launched Under Armour, and was purchased by Italian drinks company llva Saronno this past fall. The core expressions consist of whiskey sourced from MGP in Indiana, but the distillery has also been producing its own rye and has released a few excellent bottled-in-bond expressions over the last few years. Sagamore’s new partner, CaskX, is a whiskey investment company that seems to view the distillery as a bullish bet. “The partnership between CaskX and Sagamore Spirit will provide accredited investors the opportunity to purchase full barrels of rye whiskey produced from the same mash bills that have formed the foundation of the distillery’s award-winning product line,” said CaskX CEO Jeremy Kasler in a statement. “In addition to the potential for monetary gains, investors will serve an important role in paving a path forward for Maryland rye whiskey by expanding production to meet future demand.”
According to the company, whiskey has grown by almost 14 percent in value annually over the past decade. But any investment is a gamble by nature, and there are some potential warning signs. As we recently reported, agave spirits are outpacing sales of American whiskey here in the U.S. Good news just arrived that the EU is extending the suspension of its tariff on American whiskey until 2025, but there’s no way to say what will happen after that. And as detailed in a recent article in The Guardian, there are scams, frauds, and counterfeit bottles to look out for. On the other hand, vintage whiskey auctions are fetching ridiculous amounts of money, as evidenced by the recent Sotheby’s sale of a bottle of 1926 Macallan whisky for more than two million dollars.
Of course, no one is really expecting a bottle of Sagamore Spirit rye to sell for millions of dollars a century from now, but companies like CaskX are hoping that the opportunity for people to invest in something tangible which people have enjoyed for centuries—like whiskey—is a safe and profitable bet. Just like the quality of a rye whiskey after years maturing in a barrel in a Maryland rickhouse, only time will tell what the result will be.