Starting a Collection 101
We’ve received quite a few inquiries about collecting scotches and bourbons since the story of Matthew Robson selling his 18 year old Macallan Single Malt collection made the news. His father purchased a bottle for him every year since birth and, 28 years later, Matthew sold his collection for just over $56,000 US. If you aren’t familiar, you can read the full story here.
Macallan is hot right now and so are a variety of bourbons. Though what the future holds, no one can really know for sure. We all wish we knew what a breakout bourbon or scotch might be and yet is still affordable and available to purchase now! Who would have thought that Van Winkle 10, which sold for around $34 when it was readily available on the shelves, would be so sought after now.
As a general rule, wine/spirit collecting is an endeavor that takes time, patience, and definitely some luck! From finding the bottles to waiting for them to hopefully appreciate enough to turn a decent profit is something that takes several years. (In the case of wine, a person is looking at something with a limited shelf life). They must then appreciate enough for any of it to make economic sense, especially if they are ultimately sold on the secondary market through a broker (like us), or an auction house (all of which have fees involved). Collectors can most often net more by selling directly to another individual, but of course, there are risks associated with that in regards to shipping and payment.
So where do you start? Many people will start with the idea of a theme. It could center around a birth year, a style, or certain distillery. Once you decide what bottles you might like to start collecting You can check values (and compare them to your local retailer) at wine-searcher.com (they have a lot of spirits listed in addition to wine), and also at BottleBlueBook.com. Sites like BBB can seem a bit inflated but that is because they are showing pricing from the individual collectors secondary market. Wine Searcher has a great mobile app where you can point your camera at the label and it will pull up current values - very handy for price checking while at the store. However, in order to see all of the lowest price listings, you do have to subscribe to their Pro account for $8/month.
Joining Facebook collector groups can also be a great tool to connect with collectors and get a sense of what people are buying.
One final thought, be sure to take the time to discover something you will enjoy drinking. Since there is no way of really knowing how the bottles will increase in value, at least you will have a great collection to enjoy and share.