Questions? We’re Here To Help

At Braeburn Whisky our goal is to educate investors of all proficiencies about the cask investment process in order to help them make informed decisions. Answers to some of the most frequently asked questions are shown below, but if you’re not finding what you’re looking for please click here to contact us.

What are Braeburn Portfolio Management Services?

Braeburn Whisky’s Portfolio Management service allows investors to purchase an unlimited number of casks securely and without the legal complexity that is typically required. Clients who choose to have Braeburn Whisky manage their whisky portfolio enjoy all the benefits of cask ownership while avoiding the challenges of the HMRC, delivery orders, WOWGRs, Duty Representatives and reporting requirements. By placing casks under management investors can enjoy a simplified acquisition process, consistent portfolio oversight and regular monitoring of cask holdings.

Can I sample my whisky?

You can request samples from your cask at any time — that way you can taste your whisky as it matures into a prestigious spirit!

Please note it can take 6 – 8 weeks for a cask sample to be drawn, and that there is an associated fee, which varies depending on the warehouse.

When will my whisky be fully matured?

The time you hold a cask investment is your choice. However, we would recommend holding a cask for five years, or longer, in order to maximise returns. Since whisky grows in value as it matures, whisky casks increase in value year after year as they are left to mature in the warehouse.

Who manages my account?

You’ll be assigned a dedicated portfolio manager at Braeburn Whisky. Your manager will oversee your account, help you decide when to enter and exit your investment and keep you up-to-date on any exclusive offers that you will have access to as an investor.

How much whisky is in each cask?

Casks vary in capacity based on barrel type. Here are some common barrel types and their approximate capacity:

Barrel: 190-200 litres (approximately 270-285 bottles)

Hogshead: 225-250 litres (approximately 320-355 bottles)

Butt: 475-500 litres (approximately 675-715 bottles)

When will my whisky be fully matured?

Spirit can legally be described as Scotch whisky after being aged in an oak barrel for 3 years, at which point it is generally regarded as mature. However, whisky continues to appreciate in value the longer it is left in the cask. When whisky matures in the cask, the spirit interacts with the barrel and continues developing flavour and character as time passes. A 25-year-old whisky in the bottle is worth significantly more than a 5-year-old whisky; the same is true with casks. Whisky in the cask increases in value exponentially as time passes: casks that are already advanced in age witness the greatest projected year on year returns, and investors who allow their casks to mature for a longer period of time experience the greatest gains.

How do I determine the right time to sell?

Braeburn Whisky’s market experts are constantly evaluating auction prices and industry trends to make sure our clients select the ideal times to buy and sell, maximising profits from their cask investment. The best time to sell depends on industry trends, plus other factors in your overall wealth preservation strategy. Your portfolio manager will help guide you in choosing the best exit strategy for each of your casks, but the ultimate decision to sell is up to you.

What are the storage and insurance costs?

Whisky casks are required to be stored in a government bonded warehouse. While the cask is there, you will be charged for storage and insurance for your cask. Braeburn Whisky only charges £90 per annum for both storage and insurance, a highly competitive rate in the industry.

What taxes am I subject to?

Whisky cask investment can be the perfect opportunity for a tax-savvy investor. In many regions, whisky casks are not subject to capital gains tax. However, your whisky would be subject to taxes if you bottled your cask of whisky at the end of your investment; you would pay both VAT and Duty.

Before making a final decision to invest in whisky casks, we highly recommend consulting your personal tax professional as each investor’s financial and tax situation is unique.

Can I track the value of my portfolio?

Braeburn Whisky has an exclusive online platform where investors can monitor their casks anytime. Not only can you see new investment opportunities, but you’ll be able to see how your cask is performing based on its market value, which is updated each year. When you’re ready to sell, you can use the platform to set an asking price and put your cask on the market.

What is a D.O. and do I need one?

A Delivery Order, or D.O., is a document that is signed by the warehouse manager to transfer ownership of a whisky cask from one authorised party to another authorised party. Traditionally, legal requirements in Scotland have dictated that an individual must engage a WOWGR or Duty Representative in order to take ownership of a whisky cask by way of a Delivery Order.

In order to simplify the ownership of whisky casks, Braeburn Whisky’s Portfolio Management service offers investors a secure path to building a portfolio without the complexity. Under this arrangement casks are stored securely under a corporate account with Braeburn Whisky serving as the custodian for client casks. Braeburn Whisky Portfolio Management is a secure way for clients to receive the full benefits of cask ownership without being subjected to the stringent requirements of the HMRC.

Where can I store my cask?

The storage options available for whisky casks purchased as part of a Braeburn Portfolio varies based on requirements set forth by the distillery from which it was produced. Most casks can be moved to a warehouse of your choosing or stored at a Speyside facility built exclusively for the storage of casks owned by Braeburn Whisky clients. By transferring storage to Braeburn’s exclusive-use facility, investors can enjoy reduced storage rates, the ability to draw samples upon request and the opportunity to visit casks at any time.

Do non-UK residents need any extra paperwork to own a cask?

As part of our commitment to simplifying the cask ownership process, Braeburn Whisky’s Portfolio Management service offers investors an option that avoids the complexity and stringent legal requirements. When purchasing a cask under this arrangement investors receive the full benefits of cask ownership with no additional paperwork being required.

What is a WOWGR? Do I need one?

The WOWGR (Warehouse and Owners of Warehoused Goods Regulations) is a certification that is required in order for a person residing in the United Kingdom to be able to legally take ownership of a whisky cask for revenue producing purposes. There is a caveat to these requirements that allows private individuals to take ownership of casks if they are not doing so for the purpose of generating revenue and the amount of alcohol they are purchasing falls under a certain threshold. With the uncertainty surrounding this exemption as it relates to whisky casks purchased for investment, Braeburn Whisky recommends that all investors who are looking to own casks directly apply for this certification.

As an alternative to the complexities of traditional ownership, Braeburn Whisky’s Portfolio Management service allows investors to avoid these requirements by storing whisky purchases as part of Braeburn Whisky’s corporate account. Under this arrangement Braeburn Whisky acts as the custodian for client casks thereby avoiding the requirements that an individual apply for a WOWGR.

How many casks am I allowed to own?

If you wish to own casks directly, according to regulations, you will only be able to hold a “limited amount of whisky” in your name. The exact threshold is not defined specifically within Scotch Whisky regulations but Braeburn Whisky recommends that direct ownership of 5 or more casks be placed under a commercial account.

In order to help investors avoid the complexities of these rules, Braeburn Whisky offers a complete Portfolio Management service which allows investors to safely grow their portfolio without any limitations.

How can I sell my cask?

Braeburn Whisky puts you in the driver’s seat as to when you choose to resell or bottle your casks. Your casks can be listed for sale at any time with the click of a button within the client portal or by simply notifying your broker. Casks which are listed for sale receive exposure through an extensive network of independent bottlers and investors in order to facilitate an offer. All casks which are managed by Braeburn Whisky enjoy a fixed commission rate that is capped at 15% of the sale proceeds.

What is the typical investment time horizon for a portfolio of whisky casks?

At Braeburn whisky, the advice we give our clients is to stay invested for a minimum 5 years, so you can benefit from those amazing returns that whisky offers over a 5 year period. Of course, if you buy a young cask, it is in your interests to leave that whisky for as long as possible, to really benefit from those returns every single year. Of course, if you purchase a whisky cask that is much older, your investment time horizon will be much shorter. So at Braeburn whisky, we tailor the investment cycles to the age of the cask that you have purchased.

Is there a handling charge or commission to pay on top of the cost of the cask? (ie. How does Braeburn make money?)

Naturally, we need to make money, and so the cost of each whisky cask has our margins built in. There is no handling charge or commission to pay on top of the price you see. When you purchase a cask of whisky with Braeburn, not only are you getting a high quality cask from one of our trusted suppliers, but you are also gaining access to our industry-leading data, and the expertise of our portfolio managers – who have a deep understanding of the industry and, in particular, the landscape of the whisky cask market, and the direction it is heading. Not only that, but they will soon understand your particular investment interests and needs, so they can select a portfolio of casks to suit.

Are there any hidden costs associated with the purchase of a whisky cask?

No – aside from a small fee for drawing a sample, or a regauge, both of which occur infrequently and cost between 50 and 100 pounds to arrange – there are no hidden costs for cask investors who sell without bottling.

Most investors with Braeburn Whisky will eventually sell their cask to another investor or to an independent bottler. If you sell without bottling, then you avoid the costs of bottling, VAT and duty that are incurred throughout the process of bottling a cask. For an investor, having an exit strategy that does not require bottling the liquid is a huge bonus.

What costs are associated with bottling a cask, and is there incentive for investors to do so?

If you do choose to bottle your cask, you will need to take into account VAT and duty costs – once the whisky leaves the warehouse in bottled form – bottling costs and shipping and export costs.

For a straightforward design in a 700 ml bottle we would recommend putting aside around £15 or $18 per bottle you expect the cask to yield. That includes tax and duty, bottle, label and packaging. The cost of production for a limited run of bottles is relatively high. However, if you wanted a more elaborate design, then the sky is really the limit in terms of the price.

In spite of the costs associated with bottling, the bottling process and the design of the labels, bottles, packaging, etc., can add value to the product, and so some investors do choose to go down the bottling route and sell their bottles individually for a potentially greater return.

Will there be capital gains tax to be paid on the whisky when I decide to sell?

The best thing about whisky cask investing is that it’s extremely tax efficient. When your cask is in a government bonded warehouse, it is not subject to tax until it is bottled. From our interpretation, in the UK there is no capital gains tax applied because whisky is a wasting asset. Before making a final decision to invest in whisky casks, we highly recommend consulting your personal tax professional as each investor’s financial and tax situation is unique.

If I choose to re-sell the cask, can I name the distillery of origin?

Yes, if you resell your whole cask, it carries the same name as it did when you bought it.

Furthermore, if you choose to bottle the cask, all whisky casks can be bottled stating the distillery name, unless stated otherwise. Some distilleries are very protective of their brand and so aim to prevent independent bottlings using their brand name. In these circumstances, the whisky could still be bottled, but should be referred to using their region of origin, ‘Speyside single malt’ or ‘Islay single malt’, for example. In any case the label must follow SWA rules on independent bottling.

Could I transfer my whisky to a new barrel?

Yes, this is something we can support and facilitate, and we can also source a cask for you. The type of cask a whisky matures in is a considerable factor which determines the value of the whisky inside. A whisky matured in an ex-sherry barrel, for example, will gain value more rapidly than a whisky matured in an ex-bourbon cask. Japanese mizunara oak commands a significant premium. Some clients may choose to add value to their investment by changing the type of cask their whisky is maturing in.