Whisky experts launch Protect Your Cask service for investors

Whisky experts launch Protect Your Cask service for investors

Whisky writer Felipe Schrieberg and industry consultant Mark Littler (pictured) hope their site will provide useful information for people thinking about buying or who have bought a cask of Scotch whisky

News | 07 Mar 2024 | By Bethany Brown

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A service designed to offer unbiased information to potential and current investors in cask whisky has been launched by two industry experts.

 

Respected whisky writer and Keeper of the Quaich Felipe Schrieberg and whisky broker and consultant Mark Littler have joined forces to create protectyourcask.com, an online resource offering information on safely purchasing and owning a cask of Scotch whisky and guidance to minimise the risk of buyers becoming victims of fraud.

 

It comes after a number of high-profile rulings against cask investment companies by the UK's Advertising Standards Authority (ASA), which drew attention to misleading claims and murky language used in these companies' marketing. The ASA subsequently published an enforcement notice with official guidance for cask investment companies on how to responsibly and compliantly market their services.

 

Designed to help those thinking about buying or who have already bought a cask of Scotch whisky, protectyourcask.com includes a summary of the legal framework governing the purchase and sale of Scotch whisky casks, suggests red flags to look out for when whisky cask investment firms pitches of their services, and covers stories of historical whisky cask investment scams. The website also signposts people to the Scotch Whisky Association's (SWA) resources and guidance on investing in cask whisky (although protectyourcask.com is not affiliated with the industry body).

 

Littler and Schrieberg describe their website as an “educational anti-Scotch whisky cask investment scam site” to tackle questionable practices of some investment companies.

 

Schrieberg claims this is not a modern phenomenon but one that has reared its head in previous decades during periods of profitability in the Scotch whisky market.

 

“Every few decades, there [have] been waves of new companies, many of them incompetent at best or perpetrating fraud at worst, promising fast and profitable returns on the purchase of Scotch whisky casks using aggressive sales tactics,” he said.

“We’re seeing more than a few such firms today using similar techniques to generate enthusiasm and sales as fraudsters from over 20, 50, and even 100 years ago. We think it’s important to fight the misleading claims that have been going around in order to protect the integrity of the Scotch whisky industry.”  

Littler said: “Investing in whisky casks is inherently risky as it is an unregulated and volatile market. When it comes to cask investment, one of the fundamental issues we’ve come across is ensuring an investor actually owns their cask rather than having rights to a cask through a third party. This is something that the SWA itself affirms in its own advice on the matter.

 

“We hope protectyourcask.com can help others successfully navigate this precarious landscape or decide they’re better off investing in something safer.”

 

The launch of protectyourcask.com comes after the establishment of the controversial Cask Whisky Association in August 2023. The organisation's aims included keeping a public register of cask investment companies operating compliantly and offering guidance on investing in cask whisky. 

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