Whisky As Wealth: Exploring Alternative Investments With United Cask Brokers In Vietnam | Vietcetera
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May 02, 2024

Whisky As Wealth: Exploring Alternative Investments With United Cask Brokers In Vietnam

Introducing Benjamin Pippin, a connoisseur in both business and lifestyle investments.
Whisky As Wealth: Exploring Alternative Investments With United Cask Brokers In Vietnam

Benjamin Pippin, the founder and managing partner of United Cask Brokers | Source: Bobby Vu for Vietcetera

Jason Lam and Calvin Bui from BIG CTY LIFE Group, representing CTY Kitchen + Bar, Petit A Manger, and Mamacita Saigon Tacos, are leading a new content series on Vietcetera spotlighting some of the newest and most innovative contributors to the food and beverage scene in Vietnam.

In an exclusive Q&A session, we’re thrilled to feature Benjamin Pippin, the founder and managing partner of United Cask Brokers, as he shares insights into the dynamic world of alternative investments.

With a surge in interest surrounding whisky cask investments, particularly in the bustling markets of Asia, our conversation delves into innovative strategies and future prospects within the realm of alternative investments, beginning with the intriguing domain of alcohol.

Benjamin’s diverse background, spanning from his previous roles as a chef and avid music enthusiast to his current endeavors in the alternative investment and fund sector across Singapore and APAC, uniquely positions him to navigate the intricacies of this evolving landscape.

Here, we explore the nuances of investing in whiskey casks and how these ventures can diversify and elevate your portfolio within the Asian market. Furthermore, Benjamin’s recent collaboration with CTY Kitchen + Bar for an upcoming event in Saigon underscores our unwavering commitment to offering a comprehensive range of investment opportunities. These strategic partnerships exemplify our dedication to delivering tailored solutions and unparalleled service to our clientele.

Source:Bobby Vu for Vietcetera

What inspired you to start United Cask Brokers, and how did your previous experiences lead you to the whisky investment industry?

In mid-2023, I noticed a significant gap in the market for legitimate brokers who could connect investors and connoisseurs in Asia with opportunities in whisky cask ownership and bottling. This led me to establish United Cask Brokers (UCB) to bridge this gap and facilitate these connections. A large part of our initial effort involves educating potential investors, like our upcoming event with CTY Kitchen + Bar in May. My personal passion for single malts and professional background in the food and beverage industry, both in tech and venture capital, perfectly positioned me to create UCB, combining my interests and expertise.

United Cask Brokers operates in a niche market. Can you explain what sets your company apart from other investment opportunities in the whisky industry?

UCB operates primarily as a brokerage, focusing on connecting buyers with sellers, ensuring that both parties are satisfied with each transaction. Our approach to creating an open and fair marketplace distinguishes us from other whisky investment companies, especially in an industry where over-the-counter transactions and a lack of transparency in cask pricing and regulation can intimidate first-time buyers.

What are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced in establishing and growing the whisky cask brokerage, and how have you overcome them?

Definitely educating buyers. Most people who are passionate about scotch (from Japan or Scotland) do not really know that owning a cask is an option. So this year is basically a road show for me with these info sessions with potential clients in Asia; Saigon - Hanoi - Taipei - Hong Kong - Bangkok - Kuala Lumpur. A lot of Airbnbs!

Source:Bobby Vu for Vietcetera

You offer a very tailored service to your clients, from cask selection to final sale. Can you share more about how you enhance the customer experience throughout their investment journey?

From the outset, we tailor our services to each buyer’s preferences, such as investment goals, budget, distillery choice, and cask type. United Cask Brokers is unique due to our partnerships with specialists of roughly 10 global suppliers like Braeburn Whisky, RAREDRAM, and Ferguson Whisky. A prime example is our collaboration with CTY Kitchen + Bar for an upcoming event in Saigon, which showcases our commitment to providing diverse and expertly curated investment options. These partnerships ensure a personalized and thorough service for every client.

How do you see the market for whisky cask investments evolving in the next 5-10 years, and how is United Cask Brokers preparing to adapt to these changes?

Despite a recent softening in the independent bottle market as of early 2024, cask values remain robust due to ongoing demand and scarcity. We anticipate integrating technologies like blockchain through our partner RAREDRAM to enhance transparency and security in transactions. We also expect more regulatory measures from the UK, which are necessary for market stability. UCB will continue leveraging data-driven strategies to ensure optimal pricing and value appreciation for our clients.

Source:Bobby Vu for Vietcetera

In what ways does United Cask Brokers address sustainability and social responsibility, particularly concerning the sourcing and handling of whisky casks?

The traditional scotch industry is gradually adopting more sustainable practices, but significant challenges remain in areas such as waste management and the use of peat bogs. We believe real change will occur when consumer demand shifts towards more sustainable practices. While it is not currently a top priority, it is an area we are committed to improving as we progress.