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Whisky Investment Company calls on SWA to ‘head up’ CWA

Published:  28 September, 2023

Following the launch of the Cask Whisky Association (CWA), a board of members committed to upholding best practices in cask whisky ownership and sale, the MD of a leading whisky investment company has called on the Scotch Whisky Association (SWA) to back the development.

Aaron Sparkes, founder and MD of Whisky 1901, has suggested the “long-established and respected Scotch Whisky Association”, should, “head up”, the newly-formed association, which comprises includes cask whisky businesses, distilleries, independent bottlers, whisky experts and authors as well as legal and insurance professionals working within the sector.

At the time of writing, the SWA has yet to comment on the association’s launch, which has already engaged in discussion with the Scottish government to seek clarification on whether new consumer legislation will increase protections for investors in cask whisky.

Aaron Damiano Sparkes, founder and MD of Whisky 1901, said: “We welcome the introduction of a new trade association to help protect customers and the wider whisky industry by setting best practices in cask ownership and sale. Despite its growing profile as an attractive alternative investment opportunity, the whisky cask investment market is largely unregulated aside from HMRC’s WOWGR register. Unfortunately, this leaves the door open to disreputable companies, exposing investors to unnecessary risk.”

He continued: “While we’re pleased to see businesses from across the whisky industry come together to work towards making cask investment a safer place for consumers, we believe the long-established and respected Scotch Whisky Association would be best placed to head up the Cask Whisky Association. Not only would this ensure greater stringency and neutrality in the selection process of member businesses, ensuring fair accessibility and participation for and by all genuine cask investment companies, but also offer greater credibility and peace of mind for consumers.

“The formation of a trade association is a positive step in the right direction to giving existing and future investors confidence that their investments are safe, but we hope to see further advocacy from the most trusted sources in the world of whisky to ensure this body truly delivers on its stated mission: ‘to create a safe environment for whisky enthusiasts and customers to buy and sell casks’.”

Membership is open to UK-based, financially stable companies, which uphold quality standards and retain the appropriate licences.

The CWA is a voluntary organisation, open to all cask whisky companies. Applications will be reviewed semi-annually by the executive board and overseen by the independent advisory board.

For more information and to get in touch, visit the website.