Whisky Flipping, what is it? And why it matters.

I’m writing this after I read a comment on a whisky fan page on Facebook which I thought deserved a proper response.

The comment was “Selling any bottle of whisky is flipping whether it be straight away or in fifteen years”. Well I disagree and let me tell you why.

I collect whisky, I make no secret of this and over the years some of the bottles I’ve stashed away have become rather valuable, just to make that clear.

I collect because I buy whisky all the time when I probably shouldn’t, I certainly don’t need too, I am lucky to receive samples for review as well as swaps with chums but when I see something on offer or something exciting I’ll almost certainly snap it up, it doesn’t get opened though, too many open already so it gets stored away for another time.

I’m also building a collection of a couple of hundred bottles of whisky for my daughter, I’m hoping when she turns 18 when can share these but if she’s not interested she can sell them on and have a decent wad of cash.

I have also bought bottles which have soared in price, limited editions which I bought because I wanted them and when I’ve seen the prices rise I’ve sold them on as I can then go and buy two bottles of something else.

For me a flipper is someone who is buying purely to sell whisky, no intention of ever buying it, I have only done that once or twice, as most of us have, especially when that Midwinter’s night dram came out and was selling at auction for three times the retail price, I mean come on now, that was just free money.

Flippers know there is a demand for limited edition whiskies and many seem to use multiple email addresses to log into whatever whisky is about to be released and pick up as many bottles as they can and boom, they are on whisky sell on sites and auctions before the actual bottles are dispatched.

Now, yeah, I know this is a bit shitty but I think we need to remember it’s only whisky, Scotch might well be part of the national identity of Scotland but a limited edition Highland Park or Compass Box (insert your own favourite here) is just a bottle, none of it matters.

I get that some people get upset because they don’t get every bottle they try for and then get outraged when they see the bottle for mental prices but remember that it’s the distilleries which produce all these special bottles in the first place, limited editions and special releases are often either rare age statements or whisky which has been finished or aged in something unusual to the core range, they aren’t something entirely new.

I’d argue some of the nuances are so small you’d have to be a super fan to tell the difference so why all the upset?

Of course the reason for some of the upset is that people can be babies at times and throw their toys out the pram. Collectors want to have every bottle of something and when I say want I mean need and when I say need I mean need right now for their lovely collection of dust gathering bottles on a shelve, this is sort of collecting I don’t really understand, honestly, just contact a few PR firms or the distillery direct and ask for some labels to stick in a frame (I’ve found most firms have the odd label kicking about.)

So there you have it, whisky companies produce limited editions to promote their core range and to make extra coin, collectors “need” them and whisky flippers scoop them up and sell them on at a ridiculous premium but only to people who are happy to spend fortunes to catch them all.

The Captain.


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