The Cask Calculator

Mark Littler header

Those of us who have been blogging for a while are fairly used to press releases about new products, or events, or collaborations, or cocktail serves, popping into our inboxes on a daily basis. It’s a real privilege to be able to peak behind the curtain, as it were, and be a tiny wee cog in the distillery-to-consumer journey. The info comes to us direct from brands and their PR agencies, and we in turn write down our thoughts and opinions which are (hopefully) read by someone who is interested in what we have to say.

It’s not too often that a press release arrives at EWB HQ which makes me properly sit down and think about a topic which I hadn’t necessarily considered before, and this is where the cask calculator comes in. I’m sure those of us who have read about investing in whisky, whether it be bottles or casks, have come across the Napier Spirits Company scandal in the 1990s, where £3.2 million worth of casks were (mis)sold to the public; in some instances casks worth £500 were sold for £3,500. Since the 1990s, over £23 million has been pumped into fraudulent cask ventures – and that’s just the ones that have been shut down.

Investing in whisky has never been so sexy, or potentially lucrative, and in a bid to help educate possible investors on exactly how much they should expect to pay for a cask, Mark Littler has created the Cask Calculator. This neat tool has been developed as a straightforward way to show all the costs involved in bottling a cask of whisky including, duty, VAT, uplift, bottling and shipping. The calculator gives an equivalent per bottle cost that can be cross referenced against bottle value prices to verify the cask price and help prevent fraud.

Speaking of the Cask Calculator, Littler said: “Until now there has been no resource available to verify whisky cask prices like there is for property or shares (e.g. Zoopla or Morning Star). However prices for whisky bottles are widely available, so if you can turn a cask cost into a true per bottle cost then you can start to verify the price of a cask. By simply adding the details of a cask into the Cask Calculator it generates a realistic figure for a per bottle cost, which can then be compared to publicly available per bottle prices.”

Having been used over 2,000 in the last month alone, the Cask Calculator is part of a wider set of resources Littler has created to help potential cask buyers purchase a whisky cask at a fair price. These include a 10 part video guide series, a 52 page printed or PDF Cask Buying Guide and dozens of blogs and articles that cover everything from avoiding scams to anything you could possibly want to know about a cask. If you’re thinking about buying a cask, I’d definitely recommend checking out his website before making a foray into the world of whisky investment.



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