Frequently Asked

Questions

There are many facets to a single question, but here are some general answers.

Riverside provide a professional and personalised service that clients can rely upon every step of the way. Our primary objective is to help clients understand the dynamics of the cask whisky market, share our knowledge and experience so they can benefit from our collective data analysis and trade resources. 

Our philosophy is based on long-term client relations and working partnerships which starts and remains with our clients. Our aim is to guide clients through the selection and acquisition process, based on the analysis of reliable independent market data, which allows us to build diverse well-balanced cask whisky portfolios, that are both, desirable and lucrative.

As a client you benefit from our industry experience, market knowledge and network of trade suppliers.

This combined with a wealth of independent analysis allows us to help you select the most appropriate whisky and casks to meet your personal requirements and objectives.

We recommend selecting a range of casks from different distilleries when possible, to give balance, spread and depth to a portfolio.

Independent analysis from highly respected and internationally acclaimed sources state the cask whisky market has consistently shown 12-20% over the last decade.

A conservative yield figure if compared to the most recent Knight Frank wealth report that states cask whisky is the top performing asset with yields of 560% over the same period.     

Additional ownership costs are minimal and cover secure storage and insurance to ensure your whisky assets are held securely under bonded conditions and covered by insurance on a full replacement basis to give complete peace of mind.

Storage and insurance charges are invoiced directly by the HMRC regulated bonded storage provider. Storage charges vary according to the cask size or type and generally cost between £15-£26 per cask per annum.

Insurance is based on the value and calculated at £3.50 per £1,000 per year.

These fees are payable annually in advance upon transfer of ownership or receipt of whisky stock into the relevant bonded facility or registered distillery, bonded storage area.

Other charges that may be incurred in relation to cask ownership are for the issue of stock certificates, ownership transfers, racking, re-gauging of casks or drawing samples from casks.

One of our team of consultants will contact you personally to establish your understanding of the market and objectives to ensure we are not making recommendations in isolation of your current strategies.

Should you then wish to get more seriously involved, we would look to help you select a young trade brand of cask whisky that has demonstrated good potential and showing steady demand.

We are likely to suggest a couple of options, and should you wish to proceed we would check availability with trade suppliers.

Once availability can be confirmed we will raise a Proforma Invoice for the stock and send this out to you via DocuSign. This will detail the whisky stock by brand or make, and include the type of cask, volume of whisky content in litres (OLA) ‘Original Litres of Alcohol’ and the strength of the whisky, the (ABV) ‘Alcohol by Volume’ and the agreed purchase price.

In order to qualify legally as whisky the spirit needs to spend a minimum of 3 years in a cask. Most clients opt for casks between 6 and 12 years old with the intention of holding for a period 5-9 years to realise a decent return.

However, the length of hold is totally open and largely dependent on the brand, quality and strength of the whisky. 

Riverside recommend a minimum hold of 5 years and remind clients cask whisky is not an “In-Out” market.

Clients have full beneficial ownership and control over their whisky assets on confirmation of receipt and release of cleared funds by our third-party payment services provider.

Location of storage and cask bonded status is controlled by the HMRC regulated storage provider who acts as the agent in relation to suspended Duty and VAT status for the client. 

Client casks are held within one of the whisky storage providers HMRC bonded warehouse facilities or within a regulated area at a HMRC licensed distillery.

Once an account has been opened, clients can track their cask whisky assets online 24/7, using the regulated storage providers whisky storage portal. 

Riverside Whisky Partners use a third party payment provider to safeguard client’s funds until transfer of ownership is confirmed by our supplier or storage provider.

This secure payment solution holds client funds in an independent client account until Riverside Whisky Partners provide proof of purchase and transfer of ownership to the client. 

Our payment provider operates a comprehensive custodian service that safeguards both clients and Riverside Whisky Partners, as they conduct independent (AML) ‘Anti-Money Laundering’ and (KYC) ‘Know Your Client’ compliance checks on all client funds received and hold these funds account until all checks have been completed.

Our payment provider is authorised and regulated by the FCA as a Payment Institution.

Once receipt of payment is confirmed by our FCA regulated payment provider, we arrange for our supplier to make the transfer of ownership at which point a Certificate of Ownership is issued in the name the purchaser which is recorded by the HMRC bonded facility and storage provider.

A Certificate of Ownership contains the pertinent information for each individual cask. This includes the make or brand of the whisky, the (ABV) ‘Alcohol by Volume’, (OLA) ‘Original Litres of Alcohol’ in the cask, together with the location and unique cask number that identify the cask and the owners name.

Riverside Whisky Partners arrange storage through an independent whisky storage company.

Following confirmation of payment we issue a bonded storage application to open an account with an appropriate HMRC regulated provider.

This enables the storage facilitator to provide secure storage for your cask(s) within one of their independent bonded warehouses or distilleries that maintains your cask whisky assets.

Storage Fees:

  • Quarter Casks and Barrels: 29p per week, equivalent to £15.08pa.
  • Hogsheads and Butts: 49p per week, equivalent to £25.48pa.

Insurance is calculated at £3.50 + VAT per £1,000 of value per year and invoiced directly by the storage provider to the registered owner.

Cask insurance is arranged through the regulated whisky storage provider. 

Insurance cost are based on value of the cask whisky and calculated at £3.50 + VAT per £1,000 of value per year and invoiced directly by the storage provider to the registered owner.

The owner of the cask is responsible for storage and insurance costs. 

Once ownership is transferred to our client they will receive an invoice from the regulated whisky storage company for the annual storage and insurance fees. 

Clients can track their casks and portfolio through a personal storage account the online 24/7 via an independent whisky storage portal. 

This allows clients to see what cask whisky they own, the location where individual or specific cask(s) are held within a regulated storage facility.

The storage portal also details of, brand, cask type, year and the cask’s unique identification number. 

The storage provider is responsible for the safe keeping and will appoint a specialist to provide general maintenance of your cask(s).

Most cask storage facilities have a Cooper who tends to cask maintenance and your cask will be covered by insurance for unusual events that result in damage or total loss.  

Riverside Whisky Partners operate a secure third party escrow facility though a FCA registered escrow provider to give clients the protection and peace of mind when making a purchase of cask whisky. This facility ensures that all client funds are held securely in a segregated escrow client account until Riverside Whisky Partners can confirm the cask whisky stock ordered by the client is available from a recognised trade supplier and the transfer of beneficial ownership can be made.

Once a client confirms their instruction to purchase by signing and returning the Proforma Invoice detailing the cask whisky stock being purchased, Riverside Whisky Partners will complete the (KYC) Know Your Client and (AML) Anti-Money Laundering checks as required by the escrow provider and current legislative compliance directives. These checks confirm proof of Identity and residence, and bank account details for the source of funds to verify origin of funds to make the purchase.

On confirmation of receipt of cleared funds into the client escrow account, Riverside Whisky Partners will submit an irrevocable Purchase Order for the cask whisky stock from a trade supplier on behalf of the client and instruct the supplier to arrange for transfer of the cask whisky to the client. Upon receipt of this trade Purchase Order from Riverside Whisky Partners the trade supplier or bonded storage provider will issue a Certificate of Beneficial Ownership in the client’s name which is forwarded to the escrow provider to release client funds to Riverside Whisky Partners to complete the transaction.

This procedure ensures every purchase is made in a professional and transparent manner and clients can make their cask whisky purchase in complete confidence.   

Riverside Whisky Partners operate an open door policy to all clients. Should you wish to meet with your whisky consultant or visit our offices, simply contact us and we will arrange for you to come and see us, given 48 hours notice. 

Alternatively should you prefer to meet your whisky consultant elsewhere or come to your office, business premises or home, we will be happy to arrange this with you.

Simply call or email and let us know where and when you would like to meet, and we will do our best to accommodate.  

Cask whisky held under bond enjoys suspended Duty and VAT status whilst held within a HMRC regulated bonded facility. This means there is no Duty or VAT to pay unless you withdraw a cask from the bond.

Should you choose to do so you will be charged by the bonded facility or storage provider in advance at the HMRC prevailing rates at the time of removal.

The tax treatment of cask whisky by HMRC is very favourable for private individuals as cask whisky is classed as a ‘Wasting Asset’. In short this means cask whisky is not subject to (CGT) ‘Capital Gains Tax’, making cask ownership an additional highly attractive tax free wrapper.

Riverside Whisky Partners are not permitted or qualified to give tax advise as we are not accountants. We therefore suggest you seek personal advice from your accountant or tax advisor regarding you own tax circumstances. 

Cask whisky can be sold at any time, however the concept of cask whisky ownership is based on the maturity of the whisky over time.

This is a contributory factor that aids the stability of the market. Clients are reminded cask ownership is not an “In-Out” market and should be treated as a medium term investment. Riverside Whisky Partners recommend client’s look to hold for a minimum of 60-72 months.

Casks are frequently sold and traded whilst held in bonded storage, as this retains the HMRC suspended duty and VAT status of the cask(s) and provides greater provenance to prospective buyers. 

Cask whisky needs to remain in a bonded facility or environment throughout its cask life to maintain HMRC suspended duty and VAT status.

Bonded storage also preserves the providence of the cask and whisky, which is paramount to realise true value at future sale.

Clients do have the option to bottle their whisky but few will do so as they can realise healthy returns without bottling on sale of the matured cask dependent on the make, brand and quality of the whisky.

In general terms the overall increase in value of a matured cask allows owners to sell their whisky assets whilst still held under bond in a warehouse or distillery.

However, should you wish to bottle your whisky this can be arranged through the original distillery, your storage provider or an independent bottling plant.