Whisky Auctioneer toasts success with Barclays funding

Iain McClune
Iain McClune

A Perth-based whisky auctioneering website has secured funding from Barclays to drive business growth.

The deal has enabled the company to acquire larger premises and increase its workforce in response to a surge in domestic and global demand.

With growing interest from overseas markets, Whisky Auctioneer had acquired a tenancy for larger warehousing facilities to accommodate its increased stock requirements.

A £145,000 commercial mortgage and support from Barclays means the company can now purchase the space outright within 12 months of taking on the tenancy. This will provide a secure base to further grow the business and expand its team of 16 staff.

Founded in 2013, Whisky Auctioneer is an online resource specialising in auctioning fine, old, rare, collectable and affordable whisky. Whisky retailer Iain McClune identified a gap in the market for an online auctioning site and started the business from a small two room basement office. As sales grew, Iain gradually employed more staff and relocated to larger property.

Initially featuring mainly domestic Scottish whiskies sourced within the UK, Whisky Auctioneer quickly grew to attract interest from buyers and sellers located worldwide, diversifying its auctions with Irish, American and Japanese whiskies, among many others. In addition to continuing the worldwide expansion of the business, Iain also hopes to diversify into other aspects of the drinks industry.

Iain approached his local Barclays Relationship Manager David Loughlin to support his ambitious growth plans with the assistance of Bruce Renfrew from Thorntons Solicitors.

Whisky Auctioneer has been a Barclays customer throughout the development of the business, from sole trader to limited company.

Mr McClune, founder of Whisky Auctioneer, said: “We found Barclays to be extremely helpful and supportive when we were first setting up the business, especially when compared to other banks. Being assigned a Relationship Manager as a single point of contact to help with any queries cemented our relationship and I am looking forward to seeing how we can progress the business even further together.

“Whisky Auctioneer aims to make the buying and selling process as easy as possible. Our ambition is to become the go-to resource for whisky fans.”

The business is one of a number that have benefitted from Barclays’ £500 million Scottish SME fund since it was launched in June 2016 to provide access to funding for companies with turnover up to £25 million.

Stuart Brown, head of SME Scotland at Barclays, said: “Whisky Auctioneer is a great example of how we can support companies through the scale-up stage. We were able to offer them a local relationship team who understood the business and helped make the most of the opportunities available in the marketplace. Iain is an entrepreneur who is passionate about every aspect of his business and this funding will provide a stable base for future growth, both in terms of customers and staff.”

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