How Do You Guys Get Your Rare Bourbon?

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Alex G
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How Do You Guys Get Your Rare Bourbon?

#1 Post by Alex G »

Please note, this is not a sell-me-bourbon thread. Rather, I'm interested in your experiences.

In chairing a non-profit's wine and spirits section over the past year, I've developed more than a passing interest in acquiring some hard-to-get bourbons.

How do you guys go about acquiring your rare whiskeys?

Retail relationships only? On secondary market? Groups / clubs? Visiting distilleries? What should I be looking at?

Not asking for specific outlets either, just broad terms. If not appropriate to share here, I get it. Just say so.
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Rich K0rz€nk0
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Re: How Do You Guys Get Your Rare Bourbon?

#2 Post by Rich K0rz€nk0 »

Retails connections and friends in the business. They connect me.

Polite note, this belongs in the Beer and Spirits forum.
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Re: How Do You Guys Get Your Rare Bourbon?

#3 Post by Vince T »

I fly my helicopter and land on their property
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Re: How Do You Guys Get Your Rare Bourbon?

#4 Post by Alex G »

Rich K0rz€nk0 wrote: March 16th, 2021, 5:27 pm Polite note, this belongs in the Beer and Spirits forum.
Ugh, sorry for the extra work, mods...
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Re: How Do You Guys Get Your Rare Bourbon?

#5 Post by Rich K0rz€nk0 »

Alex G wrote: March 16th, 2021, 5:39 pm
Rich K0rz€nk0 wrote: March 16th, 2021, 5:27 pm Polite note, this belongs in the Beer and Spirits forum.
Ugh, sorry for the extra work, mods...
I'm sure they will graciously make right.

As they say, neither rain nor sleet nor snow....

err...

Sorry was thinking of another group of under-appreciated people. [cheers.gif]
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Re: How Do You Guys Get Your Rare Bourbon?

#6 Post by S teve R edenbaugh »

Its all about relationships...unless you're willing to spend secondary market prices. Cultivate any restauranteurs, bar owners, liquor store owners you know. I get the occasional bottle at retail, first drop pricing but I support those retailers for the remainder of the year. Instead of spreading your money around, support a "local" store.

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Re: How Do You Guys Get Your Rare Bourbon?

#7 Post by JDavisRoby »

Supper your local store that supports the distributor of the whiskey you want to buy.

And, if you’re selling it for a non-profit auction be honest with the retailer and have proof for it.

Many of the local owned retailers are getting frustrated with the secondary market gobbling up supply and they can’t take care of their regulars that have supported them for years. They keep the good stuff behind the counter and won’t give it to you if they think you’ll flip it.
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Re: How Do You Guys Get Your Rare Bourbon?

#8 Post by William Segui »

I was lucky and joined a small private group about 10 years ago with some killer connections. That gets me access to some great stuff (Weller SB, WT, 4R SB) but the general release high end stuff (BTAC, 4RLE's, etc) - I'm lucky to get a bottle every couple of years through a long standing relationship with a local store. The number of requests they get for that stuff is overwhelming so I don't even ask. If right place right time, I might score something. TL;DNR: Unless you know someone, you have to go secondary.

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Re: How Do You Guys Get Your Rare Bourbon?

#9 Post by Tom R W »

A good number of my local shops have gone to raffles or a lottery allocation system for most of the nice stuff, usually in the late fall/winter. I’ve got a few friends who are really into bourbon, so I enter all the lotteries with the idea that I’ll pass them the nice bottles.
This year I got pretty lucky & “won” two bottles: a George T Stagg & a Rip Van Winkel which I traded to friends for a Weller 12yr & a Blantons.
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Re: How Do You Guys Get Your Rare Bourbon?

#10 Post by Jason T »

Vince T wrote: March 16th, 2021, 5:31 pm I fly my helicopter and land on their property
I call BS on that. There's nowhere for your yacht in bourbon country!
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Re: How Do You Guys Get Your Rare Bourbon?

#11 Post by James Lyon »

As others have noted, relationships go a long way, but what is your definition of rare bourbon? I've never seen a bottle of any Pappy or BTAC at any retail store, ABC, etc. If Pappy or BTAC is your definition of rare bourbon, your options will be limited to relationships, lotteries and the secondary market. Good luck.

If your definition includes other limited edition bottles, I have been fortunate to stumble across a few items. Right place, right time. Also, one of my best friends is a huge bourbon collector. We have traded, exchanged and gifted bourbon and wine over the years.

I would encourage you to enter the Mecklenburg County ABC lottery. Anyone alive can enter as long as you can be available to pick up within a certain time frame. Just go to the Mecklenburg County ABC website and join the spirits email list. The lottery is usually held sometime in November/December. Rich may know better, but I think that some of the higher clientele ABC stores (South Park) keep a preferred customer list for some of the other limited editions. I don't have time for those games. Full disclosure, I have never won the Meck County lottery and there were 7,300 entries for I'm guessing 50-100 bottles last year.

Isn't there a ticketed event for the Parker's Heritage release every non pandemic year which includes the opportunity to purchase a bottle? Perhaps other limited releases in Kentucky throughout the year?

It has been discussed in another recent thread, but I would suggest moving to Scotch or Japanese whisky for limited bottles.

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Re: How Do You Guys Get Your Rare Bourbon?

#12 Post by Jason Samansky »

I have gotten my few bottles through loyalty programs. I live in LA and there are a local high end wine/liquor market and they decided rare bottles based on past year purchases. I had to ask about it but was thankful since I was able to land a few bottles of Stagg and Eagle Rare 17. I never did quite reach the Pappy stage. The one multi-state program is Total Wine & More. I purchase my wine futures through them and the Rieslings my wife enjoys and have win a few bottles through their lottery. This year it was Rip Van Winkle 12 Year and last year a WLW.

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Re: How Do You Guys Get Your Rare Bourbon?

#13 Post by Keith_B »

Relationships developed by being a consistent customer.
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Re: How Do You Guys Get Your Rare Bourbon?

#14 Post by JulianD »

Jason Samansky wrote: March 17th, 2021, 2:35 pm I have gotten my few bottles through loyalty programs. I live in LA and there are a local high end wine/liquor market and they decided rare bottles based on past year purchases. I had to ask about it but was thankful since I was able to land a few bottles of Stagg and Eagle Rare 17. I never did quite reach the Pappy stage. The one multi-state program is Total Wine & More. I purchase my wine futures through them and the Rieslings my wife enjoys and have win a few bottles through their lottery. This year it was Rip Van Winkle 12 Year and last year a WLW.
Is K&L still first come first serve? I havent seen anything for a while
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Re: How Do You Guys Get Your Rare Bourbon?

#15 Post by Scott G r u n e r »

WA state liquor stores were state run until a few years back, which was great as they were purely first come first served and you could reverse engineer the release/distribution dates and score.

nowdays most of the allocations go to the big box stores (total wine) and you have to spend enough there to get into the lottery, or have deep connections into the local stores that get allocs.
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Re: How Do You Guys Get Your Rare Bourbon?

#16 Post by SJeffery »

I'm gonna say that it's near impossible to get any of the rare bourbons without shelling out a lot of money. There was a time where it wasn't as ridiculous as it is now, but things will never go back to that way. There's just far too little of supply for far too much demand. As someone else here said, if you have proof that you are going to be using the bottle to bring in more donations for a good cause then you have some chance of convincing a nearby independent retailer or nearby hoarder of rare American whiskey to part with something at a reasonable price.
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Re: How Do You Guys Get Your Rare Bourbon?

#17 Post by Robert M yers »

I’ve given up any hope here. Generally stores here get new shipments Once a week and the flippers are lining up at every store hours before opening in hope that something new and valuable came in. Our liquor agency put a locator on line and it’s actually just helped the flippers find the stuff earlier. I’d love to go back to the old days of just getting lucky. I’ve heard stories of stores getting frustrated with the lines and have started doing random shelf additions to even the playing field.

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Re: How Do You Guys Get Your Rare Bourbon?

#18 Post by JKim »

Relationships and TW lottery. I buy lots of wine and other stuff from my local all year and I get a text if I want a bottle or two of allocated stuff. The allocated stuff never hits the shelf and only goes to regulars who support the store all year.
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Re: How Do You Guys Get Your Rare Bourbon?

#19 Post by Kris Patten »

William Segui wrote: March 16th, 2021, 7:35 pm I was lucky and joined a small private group about 10 years ago with some killer connections. That gets me access to some great stuff (Weller SB, WT, 4R SB) but the general release high end stuff (BTAC, 4RLE's, etc) - I'm lucky to get a bottle every couple of years through a long standing relationship with a local store. The number of requests they get for that stuff is overwhelming so I don't even ask. If right place right time, I might score something. TL;DNR: Unless you know someone, you have to go secondary.
If the plague ever ends and you make it to Seattle, I have plenty of Bourbon to share with you Will. It would be my pleasure.
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Re: How Do You Guys Get Your Rare Bourbon?

#20 Post by CGlescher »

Auction sites. You can find some deals sometimes. I've been shopping at this one for several years now, and have never had any issues w/any of the bottles I've won.

https://whiskyauctioneer.com/
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Re: How Do You Guys Get Your Rare Bourbon?

#21 Post by William Segui »

Kris Patten wrote: April 7th, 2021, 9:29 pm If the plague ever ends and you make it to Seattle, I have plenty of Bourbon to share with you Will. It would be my pleasure.
Thanks! And same to you. I still have a bunch of things from the 2012-2014 range, but the new release stuff -- forget about it (BTAC, PVW, etc). Strangely, the one I miss the most is THH. Made a killer Manhattan.

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Re: How Do You Guys Get Your Rare Bourbon?

#22 Post by Dave McCloskey »

I order it through a restaurant/bar, where my wife is friends with the owner. I just picked up Weller 12 for $34.00.

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Re: How Do You Guys Get Your Rare Bourbon?

#23 Post by Robert M yers »

Well that’s a nice perk, but one I probably wouldn’t tell AnyBody about!

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