A Perth company which leads the world in online whisky sales has established an office in Germany due to Brexit concerns.
Online auction platform Whisky Auctioneer has tripled its sales in the last three years and sold a million dollar bottle of whisky earlier this year – a record for an online sale.
It has opened an office in Ratheim in response to growing interest in malt whisky in Germany and to have a base in the EU ahead of the end of the Brexit transition period.
Minimising Brexit impact
Iain McClune, founder and managing director of the Inveralmond Industrial Estate company said: “Our European customer base is constantly growing, with over 60,000 website users from Germany alone active in the last year.
“Launching a German office is key to our strategic aims and we’ll use the new base to build on our solid foundations, facilitating our ongoing growth on the continent and offering our valued European consumers a continued high level of service whilst minimising the impact of Brexit.”
The German base will be managed by Neil Porter who has relocated having previously worked for the company in Scotland.
He will initially place a focus on supporting European customers who are looking to consign bottles for auction, overseeing regular organised bottle pickups with a calendar of dates covering the major German and surrounding European cities and providing logistical support for private collectors looking to consign large collections.
The team will provide free bottle valuations and can offer advice and guidance on how to sell whisky at auction.
The services offered will develop over time in line with the needs of customers and the unfolding situation around Brexit.
Turnover of £40m
The Perth-based company, founded in 2013, has 51 employees and an annual turnover of nearly £40m.
Between mid-October and mid-November, Whisky Auctioneer had its largest month both in value and volume across its auctions.
This included a £375,000 hammer price for a bourbon and American whiskey auction, £3.3m hammer price for its monthly auction and £218,000 hammer price for a specialist Glenfiddich Auction.
Strong demand for scotch in Germany
The expansion has been supported by Scottish Development International (SDI).
Johannes Augustin, senior representative Germany, SDI, said: “It is great news that Whisky Auctioneer will be opening an office in Ratheim and we look forward to working with the company as it establishes a presence in Germany.
“There is a strong demand for scotch whisky in Germany, with sales expected to increase by more than 30% by 2025.
“In particular, the rare and high premium segment of whisky is a very promising market.
“Germany is a vital commercial partner for Scotland. It is Scotland’s fourth largest export destination and our third largest investor in terms of foreign direct investment.
“The decision by Whisky Auctioneer to expand into Germany will further enhance the economic ties that bind our two countries.”
Record online sales by Perth firm
Over the past several years, Whisky Auctioneer has made its mark on the secondary market, proving itself to be one of the world’s leading online auction platforms.
Earlier this year the team made whisky history when it auctioned The Perfect Collection, the most significant collection to ever go on public sale.
It was built and nurtured by the late Richard Gooding, a private collector from Colorado, who was the former owner and president of one of the largest soft-drink distributors in the US.
A highly coveted Macallan 1926 Valerio Adami 60-Year-Old, sold with a hammer price of £825,000, becoming the first million-dollar bottle to be sold at an online auction.
Another record-breaker was a Macallan 1928 Anniversary Malt 50-Year-Old which sold for £92,000.
Most recently, the company has made headlines with its auction of Pat’s Whisk(e)y Collection, a private collection of over 9,000 bottles from more than 150 Scottish distilleries.
The collection – which also contains bourbon – is so diverse its auctions are being split over a period of nine months.