The Advertising Standards Authority has warned investors to be wary of whisky investment advertisements on social media
In the last year there have been 89 reports to Action Fraud about alcohol investments, and investors have lost an estimated £3m.
The adverts claim to offer investors returns between 8% and 12% within a year. The idea is that when whisky is first produced it matures in the barrel over time, accumulating more value as it does and the process takes at least three years. Investing in a fresh barrel of whisky could theoretically guarantee profit.
Blackford Casks Ltd Investment Partners social media advert was found to be misleading by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA).
The company claimed its whisky investment was a way to ‘retire early comfortably’. The ASA warned that ‘there is no guarantee of this at all’. There is also a fee for investing, which was nowhere to be seen on the adverts.
ASA described an advert from Blackford Casks Limited as ‘irresponsible and was a way to take advantage of inexperienced consumers’.
Blackfords’ response to ASA stated: ‘Consumers were not always purchasing whisky casks as an investment; they could bottle the whisky for personal consumption. As such, they did not believe that it was a financial product and their ads did not need to include the information that was required for such products.’
Detective inspector Nichola Meghji, from the fraud operations team at the City of London Police, said: ‘As we approach the run up to Christmas, we would like to remind people of the potential risks associated with investment opportunities, especially around whisky.
‘Much like gin, the interest in micro-breweries and independent distilleries has grown exponentially over the last decade as the British consumer has become more interested in home grown spirits versus imported beers and wine.
‘An investment of a cask of whisky may seem like a wise choice, and perfect as a Christmas present to some, but we would encourage everyone to stay vigilant and to not be sucked in – especially if adverts guarantee you will get year-on-year returns.
‘Certain companies prey on people’s lack of knowledge around investing, which is then exploited at a great cost to the consumer.’