As we look forward to new and exciting opportunities in 2022, we would like to thank all our customers, partners and colleagues for your co-operation and support in the past year. In 2022, Whisky Auctioneer will launch our inaugural Annual Report, but until then here are just a few of our 2021 highlights.
Our Ever-Growing Community
We celebrated the continued growth of Whisky Auctioneer as we welcomed 21 new members of staff to the Whisky Auctioneer team (10 of which joined our Germany operations) in various roles across Customer Service, Content, Marketing, Finance and Logistics.
As we approach the one-year milestone of launching our Germany operations to support our growing number of European customers, we are witnessing over 40% of the lots featured in our monthly whisky auctions consigned to and shipped from our German office. On our sister platform, Rum Auctioneer, at least 75% of lots are now sold through our German office. Wow!
Over 8,500 of you registered to join our global community of whisky lovers. We look forward to sharing many whiskies with you and hope to help you on your journey, enhance your experience with us and ultimately your enjoyment of whisky. After all, great whisky is why we got into business in the first place.
In 2021, over 2million bids were placed on the Whisky Auctioneer platform as we offered more than 100,000 lots (!) across 24 auctions. Kudos to our fantastic colleagues in the warehouse who were busy packing orders to be shipped to 79 countries around the world.
Another year of ups and downs, we expanded the ways in which we could stay connected with you all.
In 2021, we hosted our first virtual tasting events for Whisky Auctioneer customers. Highlights included our Mortlach Tasting, hosted by Global Brand Ambassador of Diageo, Ewan Gunn, and Whisky Auctioneer's Joe Wilson - highlight drams included a rare independent that was distilled during the height of World War II. We also hosted an unmissable Brora tasting. Led by Serge Valentin and Angus MacRaild it featured an epic line-up of Brora and Old Clynelish whiskies exploring the nuances between the distillery’s mini eras of production.
We continued to utilise our social channels to interact with nearly 100,000 of you from all corners of the globe. We were joined by special guests in five Instagram Live events as we tasted drams from the likes of Wolfburn, Aurora Spirit, Port Ellen, Lagavulin & Glenfiddich. We spent time creating more video content, this included a mini video series celebrating the Isle of Islay and educational content featuring whisky specialist, Joe Wilson (Watch: 5 Bottles To Start Your American Whiskey Collection).
Interested in which social post you loved the most in 2021? It was this 1965 Clynelish bottled by the Corti Brothers (No surprise that this is one of Serge Valentin's favourites, scoring a whopping 98 points, one of his highest-scores, on Whiskyfun.com).
Throughout 2021, we partnered up with some of the best in the industry to provide our global community of whisky lovers with exclusive opportunities and the most informative and educational content.
Since our first auction back in 2013, we’ve supported and raised awareness for a wide range of charities and causes. In 2021, more than £350,000 was raised through our online auctions. Key partners included the Scotch Whisky Association, Diageo, Scottish Ballet, Dornoch Distillery, Holyrood Distillery & Dramfool supporting Beatson Cancer Charity, the Scottish Ballet Endowment Fund, The BEN, The Drinks Trust, India's COVID-19 relief funds, local Scottish charities such as Edinburgh Food Project and various environmental charities such as the RSPB and Scottish Wildlife Trust.
Whisky Auctioneer also offered access to some most impressive private collections from the world's largest private whisky collection to come to auction: Pat's Whisk(e)y Collection (more on that next), to the personal collections of Emmanuel Dron and Ulf Buxrud.
We love to produce exclusive content for you all and in 2021 we created over twenty digital resources from downloadable Collector's Guides, to digital magazines and comprehensive catalogues.
Pat's Whisk(e)y Collection
Pat’s Grand Finale marked the end of Pat’s Whisk(e)y Collection after a year of monthly spotlights and dedicated sales on our platform. This final auction achieved a total Hammer Price of £758,223.00 (Over $1million USD).
Pat also selected several lots within this auction to raise funds for the Teenage Cancer Trust, which raised over £25,000 for the charity including Whisky Auctioneer’s contribution. Over the course of the last year, 5,863 unique bidders took part in Pat’s Whisk(e)y Collection, representing 71 countries and resulting in a total Hammer Price for the collection of over £3.3 Million GBP.
Summit of Collectibility 2021
Inspired by Pat and to mark the end of this historical collection, Whisky Auctioneer ran the world’s first-ever Summit of Collectibility, bringing industry leaders and experts together to pioneer a discussion around modern collectors and the future of whisky within the secondary market.
The Summit of Collectibility featured Pat himself, alongside market-leading panelists including NcNean's Brand Ambassador, Matt Hastings, The GlenDronach's Director of Scotch Whisky Advocacy, Douglas Cook, Co-founder and Executive Director of ARENI Global, Pauline Vicard, and Whisky Auctioneer's Head of Auction Content, Joe Wilson.
Summaries drawn from the Summit surrounded the growth of American and Irish whiskey within the secondary market, the importance of direct contact between distilleries and their consumers, and the importance of reaching new generations of whisky drinkers.
Our Commitment to the Industry
Whisky Auctioneer is proud to have partnered with Heriot Watt and Nc’nean to offer a female UK resident a scholarship to study MSc Brewing and Distilling at Heriot Watt University, alongside one week of work experience, accommodation and board at the Nc’nean Distillery.
The scholarship has been awarded to a fantastic candidate from Oban who studied BSc in Chemistry at Heriot Watt University with a specific interest in Biochemistry. She had found her undergrad course, STEM subjects and brewing and distilling to be male dominated and was keen to apply for a scholarship supporting women in the industry.
Whisky Auctioneer's environmental journey is ongoing and is one that we are committed to. In 2021, we focused on a few key areas such as the phasing out of all non-biodegradable packaging and actively promoting and encouraging environmentally sustainable practices for our employees with the introduction of schemes such as Cycle To Work. This was just the beginning of a wider project to become an even more sustainable business in 2022.
Our sister platform, Rum Auctioneer, also introduced our Statement on rum history, ethics, morals and business responsibility. This is an ongoing process, and we are actively learning and working to become better informed on the realities of the rum industry, past and present, and how we communicate this to our customers. We welcome all and any input from our audience on this.
October - November: Our Record Month
Whisky Auctioneer had its largest sales month in both value and volume between mid-October and mid-November 2021. The sales for this period included a £758,000 hammer price for the grand finale sale of Pat’s Whisk(e)y Collection, £5 million in sales during the October Auction and £246,000 raised through a specialist Gordon & MacPhail Auction.
Our sister company, Rum Auctioneer, also experienced its largest auction in both value and volume during the same period with a £460,000 hammer price.
14,378 bottles of whisky, rum and other spirits were sold across both platforms during this period.
Our sister platforms, Rum Auctioneer and Wine Auctioneer, have also gone from strength to strength:
Rum Auctioneer welcomed its first exclusive industry partnership, presenting Dark Matter Distiller’s inaugural aged rum at auction. Bottle #1 went on to set a world-record price for an inaugural rum release at auction.
Wine Auctioneer presented their first offering of In Bond wines, providing customers with greater access to mature and rare fine wines from across the globe.
In 2022, we will continue to use our platforms to increase interest and passion across the community and encourage a deeper understanding of whisky, rum and fine wine.
We already have exciting plans lined up including exclusive opportunities for our customers, dedicated auctions, industry partnerships and tastings.
We are already working on major website developments which will allow us to keep up with the changing needs, requirements and desires of our customers whilst ensuring we continue to provide an industry-leading service.
The entire Whisky Auctioneer team would like to take this opportunity to wish you all the very best as we head into 2022.