Dentists Who Invest

Podcast Episode

Full Transcript

Dr James : 0:46

What’s up everyone? I hope everyone is having a tremendous day, wherever you are in the world. This is just a quick message to say that if anybody out there knows a dentist who needs to improve their financial literacy, there is a huge backlog of episodes in the Dentists Who Invest podcast and I would be immensely grateful if you could share an episode with them that you believe will help them. There will be one in there in the anthology 100%. Also, i would be massively humbled and grateful if you could take two seconds to like and also review this podcast on your podcast platform. That would mean that this podcast gets greater reach and it can impact as many dentists around the world as it possibly can. Thank you so much and I’ll catch you all soon, welcome. Welcome to the Dentist to Invest podcast. Hey team, welcome back to the Dentists Who Invest podcast. A little bit of an unusual episode today, an episode I’ve been meaning to do for absolutely ages, because we’re not going to talk about traditional assets, so to speak, is in stocks and bonds, at least if you ask your IFA. We’re here today to talk about whiskey all things investing in whiskey from the whiskey expert and fellow dentist, dr Mike Gao. How are you, my friend?

Dr Mike: 1:55

I’m very well, how are you?

Dr James : 1:57

Top stuff. I’m absolutely wonderful. Thank you for asking So, mike. A few people listening might recognize you, because you, of course, run the dental whiskey group on.

Dr Mike: 2:06


Dr James : 2:07


Dr Mike: 2:08

Yeah, It’s interesting because when we started this group, I genuinely thought let’s start a whiskey appreciation group and I’ll invite in a couple of my close pals. a Friday night there’ll be two or three of us sharing what whiskey we’re having and it might get into double figures and that’ll be it. Now I think it’s about 700 dentists strong and, yeah, it’s fantastic.

Dr James : 2:32

That is so cool and you know what. That’s how all the best groups start out here, because that’s literally how Dennis, who invests, started as well. And here we are having many years later with all the members and what have you, which is really really really cool and amazing. So, yes, owner and founder of the dental whiskey group and naturally that comes off the back, as we know, or as we were talking off camera of your ability or your ability you know you being an efficient and efficient adult with whiskey rights and you know being really into it and knowing everything about it. Where did that was?

Dr Mike: 3:06

that correct. It’s strange, though, because I didn’t really get that into whiskey until my 30th birthday and I think most people are kind of fairly late to whiskey. It’s not really, or traditionally isn’t really a drink people you know young folk would have A lot of. The whiskey companies now are marketing heavily. They’re trying to get into the younger generations. You’ll see a lot more of the what are called the non-age statement whiskey. So it won’t be a 10 year old or a 15 year old whiskey, but it will have a funky label and it will have some marketing spin on it to attract the younger drinker. And certainly, you know, the whiskey companies now are attracting you to, or encouraging you to, blend, make cocktails, that type of thing, which for most whiskey drinkers is sacrilege, of course. But the whiskey company don’t care. Drink the whiskey however you want, as long as you drink it.

Dr James : 3:59

So whiskey and coke is not how it should be done.

Dr Mike: 4:03

You can drink whiskey however you like. All I would say if you’re putting coke in it, just make it cheap crap whiskey and that’s what you’re okay with. If it’s getting age on it, don’t mix it.

Dr James : 4:13

Gotcha, gotcha, gotcha. Okay, good stuff. So the journey started around about 30.

Dr Mike: 4:17

I was age 30 and you know what happened It was my 30th birthday. My wife organized a surprise birthday party for me and people brought bottles of whiskey as a birthday present. And you know, i think I opened one of them and was making my way through it And about six months later we had a distant relative staying with us who said I would love to try some whiskey. And I opened up about six or seven bottles and we worked our way through sampling them And for the first time, as I went through them, i thought what a difference there is between some of these whiskeys. I love that one, that one I’m not so sure about, i can’t stand that one. And I realized actually you can never have one whiskey and say I like or dislike whiskey.

Dr James : 4:58

You know, it stunned me about the very first time that I had decent whiskey right, that it was enjoyable and palatable. Okay, my belief up until that point was that if it’s alcohol of a certain percentage, that it just, it just won’t be good. Okay with me, until I tasted the real stuff And that was a real moment. I can remember that That was like an epiphany, and it sounds like the same thing happened for you.

Dr Mike: 5:23

Indeed, absolutely. And the other thing I’ve learned is you can never judge a whiskey on a single sip, because when you take the first sip, all you get is alcohol burn. So again, you know, you see people in pubs saying try a sip of whiskey and someone will take one sip. Oh, that’s horrendous, I can’t drink it. All they’re getting is alcohol burn. They’re not getting the flavor. So you need to take the first one, get over the alcohol burn And then the second sip. You’re actually going to get the flavor and the taste from.

Dr James : 5:48

Ah, tough stuff, The more you know. And that leads very nicely into what we will talk about today, what we plan to talk about, which is how can someone get a foothold in the invest in whiskey market, so to speak, or at least how can we get started. Because here’s the thing One of the reasons why I wanted to do this podcast for quite a while was people messaged me and they’ll say Hey, james, should I invest in whiskey, should I invest in this, should I invest in that? Right, and my school of thought and it’ll be interesting to hear your take on this is just simply to do the simple stuff first and maybe get a little bit of a feel for how investing works, because there are a lot of themes that, regardless of what asset you’re investing in, there’s crossover, there’s some, there’s similar concepts that apply to each and every asset, and it’d be best to just get a handle of those in the traditional, via the traditional means of investing first, before you think about whiskey. But then, having said that, of course, of course is. I’m sure there’s people who have just exclusively invested in alcohol and exclusively invest in houses, exclusively invested in toy figurines, and done extremely well, and it’d be interesting to just hear your take on all of that. So first of all, yourself. I know that we talked off camera just a little bit, mike, and we were talking about how you invest in whiskey. So I’m just interested to know how that evolved from that first night where you had that sip of whiskey on your 30th birthday.

Dr Mike: 7:12

Okay, well, from there, interestingly, because I got. I got dozens of whiskeys that day and I opened most of them. I tend to have a rule if I’m gifted a bottle, i’ll open it and at least take a drink if I wanted to be a drinking whiskey, because there’s a risk that you do shelf it and you wait for the special moment to drink it, which usually the special moment is opening the bottle and actually drinking it. So if it’s a drinking whiskey, crack it open and enjoy it, because there’s nothing better, and I did. There was a couple that I never opened because they were very heavily pitted whiskeys. So I find it the LeFrog whiskeys quite difficult. So I was doing a podcast recently with the chap who’s the manager at LeFrog Distillery and we had a few LeFrogs lined up to drink, you know, during this interview And I said I’ve got this one. I’ve had it for about 15 years, i’ll open it and sample it tonight. And I took it off the shelf And he said, mike, that one’s gone out of production now Your bottle there’s worth about 500 pounds. So it went back on the shelf. It’s now in my investment once, because it would have been a 30, 40 pound bottle of whiskey about 10, 15 years ago. So, yes, so it came from, i guess, the collector aspect of wanting to hold on to a special bottle for longer, and then that developed into actually getting an eye for that’s a good price for this whiskey And I know that it will increase in value. Now most of them will be the distillery exclusive ones, so they’re a limited range, so there will only ever be a certain number of them that are produced And, of course, like any of these investments, because it’s a consumable, there will be, as they go out into the world, there will be people that will consume them. So, as the years pass, not only is your investment increasing because of the age and the length of time you’ve kept it for, but it becomes rarer because, as the years roll on, people are drinking them and there’s less of them.

Dr James : 9:17

Got you. So potentially an obvious question, but just really, really, really want to get your take on this. You’re saying that it does help to have at least a decent knowledge of whiskey.

Dr Mike: 9:31

I mean there’s a number of them that you probably you wouldn’t fail with because, again, most of these bottles you’re buying, if you’re coming in at a low level, you’re buying a bottle of whiskey for maybe 100, 150 pounds, 200 pounds. whatever happens within five years or so it’s going to be worth more. Whatever happens, it’s going to be worth more. Now, if you do that across a wide range of bottles, it’s highly unlikely you’re going to fail with that. I think the risk comes when you put all your eggs in one basket. So if you bought you know an old McCallan for you know 20,000 pounds, you’re a little bit more of a risk as to you know what might happen with the value of that particular bottle Again, highly unlikely it’s going to go anywhere but north. but you know I like to spread it across various whiskeys. But again, my ethos, to be honest, is it’s as much a hobby as an investment. So I enjoy owning these whiskeys And also in the back of my head I’ve got the concept that if I’m making enough money out of other investments or out of my job, i’ve got this cracking bottle of whiskey that in 20, 25 years time I might decide not to sell and I might open it with friends, you know.

Dr James : 10:41

Very cool. Okay, because here’s the thing because I feel like most of the time when people inquire about investing in whiskey or they get caught up in some sort of scheme or some method that they can use to invest in whiskey, that they don’t always necessarily know that much about whiskey. So I’m just wondering is that a prerequisite to be successful and not a remit?

Dr Mike: 11:00

to a degree. You need a degree of base knowledge about it so that you’re you know. Because, again, a lot of people, when they invest in whiskey, will perhaps invest in a cask And there’s a lot of schemes where you invest early when a whiskey’s getting casked, which is slightly different to buying bottles and holding onto them yourself. In fact, we did that as a group. As the Facebook group grew, somebody mooted the idea saying we should buy a cask, so it ended up. I think there’s about 60 of us that threw in a couple of hundred quid each And I think we now own five casks across various distilleries. So we’ve got two at the, i think it’s three, three at the Glasgow Distillery Company and two in Arran Distillery as well. Again, for most of these guys that are doing that, we’re probably going to drink them. I would imagine We’ll get probably a dozen bottles each out of each cask. But if you invest in a cask, again it’s the time game, so you put the money in the distillery, then obviously puts the spirit into the cask and it’s got to sit there for at least three years. The vast majority of people investing in a cask you’re going to let it run probably 10, i would imagine. The good thing is, when you do that, you have to pay for the whiskey, but you don’t have to pay any of the taxes or duties yet. That happens at the end, so as they actually bottle up the cask and produce the bottles, that’s when the final payment and the taxes and duties are paid. But at that point, if it’s an investment, you could then bottle up and sell the whiskey for a considerable profit.

Dr James : 12:45

So that’s how it works, that’s how it can work, rather So it can work for, Again, you would need a bigger outlay.

Dr Mike: 12:51

So most cask investments to get started, depending on the distillery you’re probably looking as a minimum. The cheapest ones are probably about 4000, going up to about 10 for your kind of average distilleries. It’s kind of hard getting in because a lot of these distilleries are now limiting how many they’ll do for private casks And that’s where some of these investment companies will come in. So you hear these companies saying buy a cask whiskey. The issue with that, of course, is they’re going to take a cut of the profit.

Dr James : 13:23

Gotcha, Gotcha, And because this is the thing you know, a lot of the time there are these, as you say, schemes out there, or you know these opportunities, so to speak, to invest in whiskey. How can we tell what the real deals are, apart from you know, how can we tell them, apart from the scams, so to speak, of the things that are not so?

Dr Mike: 13:43

I don’t know. I’ve never invested that way or gone through any of these guys. I think it would have to be probably through a personal reference of somebody you know has done it, because I think any company that’s selling you any kind of financial investment, whether that’s whiskey or whether that’s stocks and shares, it’s going to be the same. You don’t know, you know you don’t really know, so I would certainly be wary. but it doesn’t mean to say there’s any issue doing it that way. So again, if you can find a distillery that allows the private sale of casks and you do it yourself, that’s always going to be the best way.

Dr James : 14:22

Yeah, Yeah, I mean yeah, totally. That sounds reasonable. Do your due diligence and all of that stuff. I suppose the ones that I see most frequently are like the get rich quick ones, And I feel like they’re the thing that people think are going to make them a great deal of wealth overnight. So DIY or do your own research is the message of the one which is cool. What makes it good in your view And I get that. Obviously we wouldn’t want anybody to just make investments decisions solely off this podcast or anything like that But in your view, in your view, what is an eye catching, What is something that you know you would look at in terms of an investment on whiskey and you would think to yourself hmm, my ears are perking up and my eyes are getting slightly wider here. I’m interested. This looks like it could be a good investment. What are the parameters of things that you look for?

Dr Mike: 15:09

For me and this is where it’s a bit difficult, depending on where you live It’s the the whiskies that the distillery will release in such limited quantities that they only sell it at the distillery, so it’s called a distillery exclusive whiskey. So you can’t buy it online, you can’t buy it in the shop. You literally have to be at the distillery to pick it up Right, or know somebody who lives near that particular distillery.

Dr James : 15:34

Got you, so it’s a good. it’s already got the hallmarks of a good investment because there’s scarcity there.

Dr Mike: 15:40

So for example sorry I’m bending out of shot with this one here This is a kill don, and so this is an iron whiskey. Okay so I picked this one up. I think you probably can buy this online now, but I picked this one up at the distillery, so it’s a 21 year old whiskey Comes in its case lovely, lovely color, cool, um. but that was bought, i think, for about 125 pounds, something like that, and a lot of these now sell online for about 300, and that’s only after about a year.

Dr James : 16:13

Very okay. So yeah, i mean, double your plot, double your Investment in the year is pretty good and it’s just.

Dr Mike: 16:19

It’s a lovely thing to have in your house as well. Yeah which is which is why I do and, as I say, i’m not sure whether I’ll drink that one day or whether it’ll get sold. It just depends.

Dr James : 16:28

That’s part of the fun. That gas really, isn’t it It?

Dr Mike: 16:30

depends how far north it goes, because you know I’m prepared to sit in that for as long as it takes and we’ll see, that’s cool, okay, good stuff.

Dr James : 16:37

So in terms of parameters for a good investment in whiskey, definitely scarcity is up there. How about anything else?

Dr Mike: 16:47

I think obviously It’s kind of changing because there’s a lot of big names. So, with regards to the foreign market, the you know some of the big names, like the McCallan, is always going to be a Good seller. The issue with like something like that is, if it’s a big name, it’s it’s. It’s already going to cost you more to buy it, so you probably have to spend more on the McCallan. However, it’s never going to lose credibility. It’s always going to be a big name. It’s always going to be something people will buy. So if you want something, i think again, like anything in Investments, if you want to take a punt on something and go for a smaller distillery or a newer distillery, you’re taking a gamble on what that distillery is going to do in the future and what will happen with this reputation as well.

Dr James : 17:36

Okay, okay, okay, okay. Good stuff, and outside of whiskey, do you do a lot of investing? Is that something that you’re into, mike?

Dr Mike: 17:43

I Invest in my children. Just now I have four kids at private school. So that is you can imagine, that’s a pretty big wedge of my. My monthly salary Goes into into private education.

Dr James : 17:57

I can imagine. That’s off to me. Fair play, fair play. And then what was the thing? Oh, there was something just flitting in and out of my head there that I really wanted to ask. Oh yes, it’s just came to me in terms of taxation on whiskey as an investor. Because here’s the thing, you know, there’s certain assets, when they’re held in your personal name I believe they’re called chasels on which you owe No capital gains, even if you do make profit on them. Whiskey does whiskey fall into?

Dr Mike: 18:24

That’s a good question. I’m not sure, because I have a soul in it yet So.

Dr James : 18:30

I’m actually I think I’m pretty sure you’re liable for capital gains on whiskey and capital gains. Now, as of a few months ago, the capital gain threshold is like four or five k. It’s much less than it used to be You know anything. So, yeah, definitely something to look up for any would be potential whiskey investors who are listening to this podcast, because that’s obviously a super important one. What about owning whiskey in a limited company? I know that it’s possible. Is that someone? it’s it. It must be possible. I’m sure that it is. Is that something you’ve ever come across and any of your investment circles?

Dr Mike: 18:59

Not something I’ve heard of, no, no.

Dr James : 19:01

I don’t know how that would work.

Dr Mike: 19:05

I’m not sure. I mean certainly through the, through the, the casks that we bought. I’ve bought that through a limited company that I’ve got called Max Scotland meetings and conferences Scotland. I run workshops on hypnosis and rapport, language, communication, that type of thing. So the idea behind the the folk that have invested in the whiskey cask is we’re going to have a dentistry whiskey symposium where everyone is going to come along and we’ll do some dental talks in the morning and then the afternoon we’ll we’ll sample our whiskey and we’ll we’ll bottle up And not the other way around, right. I think it’s probably important that it’s done that specifically that order.

Dr James : 19:46

That’s cool, man, cool, awesome. So this podcast today the main reason why I wanted to make this was to educate people on where they can start whenever it comes to whiskey and not get caught up in the get rich quick things, cause I see those all the time. So if you were to go back to 30 year old Mike and say, mike, you’re just about to discover this wonderful world of whiskey, here’s some cool resources, here’s some cool things that you should know, what would you say to that version of Mike? Cause there’ll be a lot of people who listen to this podcast who, in effect, are that version of you, because maybe they’ve never even tried good whiskey before, or maybe they’re just at the start of that voyage.

Dr Mike: 20:22

I think, and again, investing in whiskey is as much a hobby and a passion as it is a serious investment avenue for people. So I see it, and I guess you will as well, with the things that interest you. So I think, first of all, find, find the whiskey that you enjoy and you like. So a number of the investment bottles I have come from the Arran distillery, which is one of the less known ones, but it’s an island off the west coast of Scotland where I happened to have met my wife, so it’s got holds, a kind of personal connection. So, as much as I’m hoping these bottles are going to accrue value over the years, i actually am getting quite a lot of joy from owning them. even though I haven’t opened them yet, i quite like having them. There’s always a risk, of course, with any investment. you don’t want to get too attached to the thing you’re investing in. But yeah, i think, make your own journey, find out the whiskies you enjoy, because there is that possibility that if the whiskey doesn’t increase in value the way you hope, the worst case scenario is you’ve got a nice bottle of whiskey to drink.

Dr James : 21:30

I like that philosophy a lot, Mike. where can people find out more about you, the listeners of this podcast?

Dr Mike: 21:38

You can follow me Instagram at drmightgow. Also there is obviously the dentistry whiskey appreciation group on Facebook. You can do that. My clinic website is berkeleycliniccom as well, so you can find me on there. So I want a private practice in the centre of Glasgow as well. So it’s a multidisciplinary practice. My main interests are dental anxiety management So I do sedation hypnosis. But we have orthodontists and plant dentists and periodontists who work within the clinic.

Dr James : 22:14

Very cool. Thank you so much, mike. You’ve been ever so generously timed. Today I want to thank you personally for being the first ever resource, the first ever person who came to the podcast and spoke about whiskey, and it’s been long overdue because I wanted to do it.

Dr Mike: 22:27

I’m going to tell you a very quick story as well, but more quickly sign off. So one of the members of the group is a good friend of mine, a chap called Paul McLaughlin, who’s a dentist in Nova Scotia. He originally came over to Scotland to go on one of the hypnosis training courses that I do And at the end of the course we had a whiskey sampling. Now Paul has totally thrown himself into whiskey. He comes over, he does residencies in distilleries where he literally works in the distillery, and a few years ago he said Mike, i’m going to be doing a diploma in single mode whisky at the Edinburgh Whisky Academy. Do you want to do it? I said, great, that’s it. I know a lot about whisky. That sounds like a lot of fun. So we went along and they go around the table asking everybody their occupations, and they all worked in the whisky industry. They were all in hospitality and whisky. And you get to me and it’s like a medentist from Glasgow and the course was really intense the business of whisky, the history of whisky, the manufacture of whisky. And as I’m going through this to the intense course, i’m thinking for the first time in years I’m going to flunk an exam, but I passed it, so I’ve actually got a diploma in single malt whisky. So again, there’s this beautiful opportunity for spokes on career pathways as well, whereby I could give whisky lectures. I could do other things as well. Certainly, paul’s doing a massive amount of that. He’s the whisky doc on Instagram and Facebook.

Dr James : 24:05

I mean, i’m a huge believer in that sort of stuff as well, because there’s niches within niches, like even the community of dentistry is a niche, but what about the person who knows a lot about another specific niche, who can relate to that community, specifically the original niche, because you are a dentist. Therefore, you can communicate about these other things in a way that is so refined and specific to a community that you identify with, or dentist, that you bring this whole new vantage point of expertise and knowledge to those people. And that is why the niches are where people can really, really really create a name for themselves, because the genero stuff everybody’s already doing, you know, and the way I always explain it to people is you know, kim Kardashian, right? I just about know who she is because of Break the Internet, right? I don’t really go watch the flipping, whatever the TV show is called or anything like that. But if everybody’s trying to be Kim K, then you’re competing against Kim K, yeah, whereas if you go down in these little niches, often it’s a market of one and you’re serving these people too much higher standard, because you can communicate in a way that they can relate to, understand.

Dr Mike: 25:10

Very powerful That’s certainly true, because obviously I’ve got a masters in hypnosis. So you know, i’ve got one day a week where I work with patients doing coaching and doing hypnosis work, which is a fabulous. It’s a fabulous thing to get away from the clinical, hands-on dentistry, but it’s also fantastic just to have that other opportunity for doing something else if I ever want to take it in a different direction. You know, there is one other thing I’m going to plug, if you’re cool with it, because I think you’ll find this interesting. I’ve not mentioned it to you yet. Alongside my cousin we actually have a little business called yourdentistrecommendscom. I don’t know if you’ve heard of this I’ve seen that before. Yeah, we’ve probably just seen us splashing it all over social media.

Dr James : 25:56

It rings a bell, yeah.

Dr Mike: 25:59

So every morning before work and every day after work I phone my cousin, who’s also my best friend, and we talk about business ideas. What else could we be doing? and we’ve come up with loads of things. I mentioned before. We started here interdentaltv, which is a YouTube channel with various videos in it. We started a net zero dentistry thing to try and get the dental profession to be greener. But probably one of the big success stories actually has been something called yourdentistrecommendscom. I mentioned to him in passing that God do you know how many bits of paper I gave to patients today saying go and buy a sonic hair toothbrush from Amazon? and handed them the bit of paper. I said we can’t stock very many of these toothbrushes because they’re so expensive and they get damaged, they disappear, they get given away, stolen and it’s too big. Too much cash is locked up in that kind of stock. So we actually now have a business, yourdentistrecommends, which is almost like an Amazon of high-end dental products And the idea is that the dentist registers for free and when they see a patient and they want to recommend a water pick or a Oroby toothbrush or whatever the product is, they create a basket and send it to that patient. When the patient fulfills the order, the dentist then earns a 10% commission on the sale, or the therapist earns a 10% commission on the sale. So you’re making money for stuff that you’re telling patients to buy anyway. So that’s a wee additional. if you want a wee brussey bonus on the side, start sending your patients through your dentistrecommendscom and you’ll make some commission.

Dr James : 27:41

There we go, there we go. What an interesting business idea, mike. Thank you so much for your time today and your knowledge and your wisdom and all of those things. We’ll catch up with each other again super soon.

Dr Mike: 27:50

Appreciate it slanted.

Dr James : 27:52

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