The Single Malt Bottlers (by October 2017)
Today we take a look at the bottlers of our single malt whiskies. Which of them are traded the most? Whose bottlings experienced which price development?
Bottlers do what their name implies, they put the whisky into a bottle. For single malt whiskies we differ between so-called “original bottlings” and “independent bottlings”. A whisky is called “original bottling” when it was bottled by the distillery who produced it. On the other hand, independent bottlers are companies which buy whisky by the cask from different distilleries and fill it into bottles on their own. In this article we want to have a closer a look at the whisky collectors market with regards to these bottlers.
We see two direct possibilities to measure the collectors-market share of the bottlers. One is the number of different whiskies traded on the market from each bottler. Since our database only contains whiskies which were traded on auctions, the sheer number of bottles we find in our database is a good measure for this. If we do so, we see that the seven major bottlers comprise 63% of all single malts in our database.
Around 43% of the whiskies in our database are original bottlings. On the second and third place follow Gordon & MacPhail and Signatory Vintage with 7,5% and 7%, respectively. For this analysis we combined Dougland and Hunter Laing, which split up only four years ago. Like Cadenhead, Douglas/Hunter Laing account for 5% of the whiskies we observe on auctions. On the places follow the Scotch Malt Whisky Society (SMWS) and Duncan Taylor. All other bottlers combine to 27%. In total we currently track 206 different bottlers in our database.
The second possibility to measure a bottler´s collectors-market share is based on the number of trades. So for the below graph we counted the number of bottles traded since January 2016. Quite obviously this measure is dominated by the original bottlings. Around 83% of the almost 100.000 trades we observed in the last 21 months are single malts which were bottled by the distillery itself.
Consequently, the independent bottlers only accounted for around 17% of all trades. The most prominent ones are again Gordon & MacPhail, Signatory Vintage, Cadenhead and Douglas/Hunter Laing. Next, we leave aside the number of trades and focus on how the auction-prices of the different bottlers evolved over time.
For comparing the price development of the different bottlers we of course use our bottler indices. Each of this indices describes the price development of the currently 100 most traded whiskies of each bottler. In the below graph we diretly compare the indices of those seven bottlers which account for the most whiskies in our database. Again, Douglas and Hunter Laing were combined.
We see that it is again the original bottlings who lead this ranking with an index value 395 points. This means, that since January 2006 this index moved from 100 points to around 395 points implying that the value of the 100 included whiskies climbed by 295%. For the second place battle Douglas/Hunter Laing and Gordon & MacPhail with around 330 index points. We also see that just recently Duncan Taylor overtook Signatory Vintage.
When looking at the indices it is very interesting to observe that prices for original bottlings were the first which started to significantly climb. We see the first real increase in 2010. For the independent bottlers it took two or three years more before the prices went up. But then, especially the prices of Douglas/Hunter Laing and Gordon & MacPhail grew with a comparable rate to those of original bottlings.