Cheshire based whisky broker Mark Littler Ltd has released a Cask Calculator to help stop the £23m global whisky scam market.
The increase in fraud during the Covid 19 outbreak has been well documented but fraudulent activity isn’t just limited to pandemics. Since the 1990s, globally over £23 million pounds has been pumped into fraudulent whisky cask ventures; and that is just the ones that have been shut down.
Mark Littler developed the Cask Calculator as a straightforward way to show all the costs involved in bottling a cask of whisky including, duty, VAT, uplift, bottling and shipping. The calculator gives an equivalent per bottle cost that can be cross referenced against bottle value prices to verify the cask price and prevent fraud.
‘Until now there has been no resource available to verify whisky cask prices like there is for property or shares (e.g. Zoopla or Morning Star). However prices for whisky bottles are widely available, so if you can turn a cask cost into a true per bottle cost then you can start to verify the price of a cask,’ explains Mark Littler, founder of Mark Littler Ltd and creator of the Cask Calculator. ‘By simply adding the details of a cask into the Cask Calculator it generates a realistic figure for a per bottle cost, which can then be compared to publicly available per bottle prices.’
The free calculator has been used more than 2,000 times in the last month alone.
Whisky cask scams are an issue in the unregulated industry. The Napier Spirits Company was set up in 1995 and alone sold £3.2million of casks to the unsuspecting public. In some instances Napier sold casks that were worth £500 for £3,500.
Napier Spirit Company was eventually shut down but cask mis-selling still happens today.
‘One of the worst instances I have encountered was just a few months ago at the start of 2020,’ says Mark Littler. ‘The asking price on a cask was so inflated it would have been cheaper to purchase comparable distillery bottled product at full retail price including shipping and taxes and decant those bottles back into a cask than pay the asking price for the cask. We want to make that kind of price disparity impossible.’
Alongside the cask calculator Mark Littler Ltd. have released a large number of other educational tools to help potential cask buyers purchase a whisky cask at a fair price. Resources include a 10 part video guide series, a 52 page printed or PDF Cask Buying Guide and dozens of blogs that cover everything from avoiding scams to everything you could possibly want to know about a cask.
Mark Littler Ltd is an independent antiques consultant and whisky broker with over 300 five star reviews of their services. They have sold everything from medieval rings, classic Porsche, vintage Rolexes and casks of Macallan. They also provide a cask brokering service with the ethos of helping their customers buy quality whisky casks at a fair price.
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