By Scott Wright

THE rare whisky market has rebounded after contracting in lockdown and is on course for a record year in 2021.

New figures show that nearly 85,000 bottles of single malt Scotch whisky with a value of more than £36 million were traded in the first half of the year.

Should the current rate of growth be maintained, some 172,500 bottles would be traded over the whole of 2021, 20 per cent more than in 2019 when 143,895 bottles with a value of £75m were sold.

Rare Whisky 101, the whisky analyst, broker and investment specialist which compiles the figures, said the market is on course for a record year after sales were subdued during lockdown.

Noting other physical asset classes had been similarly affected by lockdown, the analyst found the number of bottles of single malt sold at auction in 2020 was down 3.37 per cent on 2019 at 139,044. The recorded value fell by 7.47% in 2020 to £53.4m. However, the analyst declared the market had been buoyed by a “classic V-shaped recovery” following the easing of the first nationwide lockdown in the UK.

November and December 2020 were record-breaking months from a volume perspective, it said, with both seeing more than 16,000 bottles of single malt Scotch whisky sold. The previous monthly record of 15,830 was set in April 2019.

A fresh record was set in May this year, when 16,858 bottles were sold at auction. The average price-per-bottle has also rebounded this year. While the average price-per-bottle fell by 2.55% to £390.81 in 2020, it bounced back and rose to £426.58 on June 30 this year – another record.