Falkirk licensing: Town centre store granted licence to auction rare whisky

A Falkirk shop will start holding auctions of rare and collectible whisky after being granted a licence.
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Members of Falkirk Council’s licensing board heard that Sardar’s Cellar, on Grahams Road, had traded for many years as JSKS, a traditional licensed grocer and newsagent.

The shop is now owned and run by Sukhwinder Singh, who took over the family business when his father died in 2017.

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Noticing that the sale of food had declined, as other shops had opened in the area, Mr Singh began to specialise in alcohol, selling high-end wines, spirits and beers.

Sardar's Cellar has been granted a licence that will allow it to auction rare whisky. Pic: Scott LoudenSardar's Cellar has been granted a licence that will allow it to auction rare whisky. Pic: Scott Louden
Sardar's Cellar has been granted a licence that will allow it to auction rare whisky. Pic: Scott Louden

The board was told that Mr Singh now wanted to take the business “to another place” by opening a whisky auction business – and one day hopes to sell rare whisky for over £2 million.

Agent Robin Morton told the board it was an unusual application but added that he thought it would be “a credit to Falkirk”.

He said: “It’s not just any alcohol. Mr Singh is a whisky collector and has been for 12 years or more.

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“He’s really interested in this subject and he’s looked at various auction sites and decided he would like very much to take this shop to another place.”

He added that there are other whisky auction houses in Scotland, with auctions held online, usually over a ten-day period.

Councillors were assured that customers would have to confirm age when signing up to the auction house.

Local deliveries would be done by Mr Singh or one other delivery driver who would have full training.

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Any deliveries further afield would be done by a reputable firm who understand the need to check a customers’ age before handing over goods.

Mr Morton stressed that the products currently sold in the shop will not be sold by auction and the two businesses will be quite separate.

However, he handed round photographs to show the quality of the products.

“You can see bottles of craft gins, expensive whisky. It’s a place that a connoisseur would go,” he said.

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Councillors were interested to know where the whisky for auction would come from and were told that mostly it would be from private collectors.

Councillor Alf Kelly asked if any would come from big distillers such as Diageo.

Mr Singh said that he would be “honoured” to be asked to auction whisky for big companies, pointing out that one sold recently in an auction at Sotheby’s for £2.2 million.

“It will take time – hopefully I do get there – but I’d say the majority will come from private collectors,” he said.

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Provost Robert Bissett, convener of the board, said he was satisfied that the innovation was “a good idea” but that the licensing standards officers would monitor it at first “to see how we go”.

He wished Mr Singh good luck and said: “I hope you get your £2 million.”

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