It’s the whiskey that everyone wants and the whiskey that almost no one can get. That’s Pappy Van Winkle, the legendary brand of highly allocated bourbon whiskies ranging from 10 to 20 years old. A bottle of 23-year-old Pappy Van Winkle Family Reserve is rumored to cost as much as over $2,000, or even for a special bottle in certain markets. But with only about 7,000 cases available annually, it’s nigh impossible to find at retail or on bar shelves.
So how do you get your hands on a bottle? And are there other ways to enjoy this sought-after spirit? Here are four tips on how to find Pappy Van.
Go Straight to the Source
On Oct. 1 each year, Buffalo Trace Distillery, which makes Pappy Van bourbon, begins accepting requests from liquor stores and bars that want to purchase a case or two of the limited release of whiskey. The deadline is Dec. 1, so time is of the essence if you’re a retailer interested in getting a bottle or two for your customers
Get in Early
By far the best way to beat the crowds is by getting in line early —
Pappy Van is a bourbon brand that is made by Buffalo Trace Distillery in Frankfort, Kentucky. The bourbon itself is named after the original owner and founder of the Stitzel-Weller distillery, Julian “Pappy” Van Winkle, Sr.
The three main bourbons produced in the Pappy line include Old Rip Van Winkle 10 Year Bourbon, Van Winkle Special Reserve 12 Year Bourbon, and Pappy Van Winkle’s Family Reserve 15, 20, and 23 Year Bourbons. The company also produces Lot B – a small batch whiskey bottled at 90.4 proof, and the very rare (and very expensive) Van Winkle Family Reserve Rye Whiskey.
Pappy Van Winkle is a highly sought after brand of bourbon whiskey due to its age, high quality and limited availability.
The demand for Pappy far exceeds the supply that is produced each year making it difficult for consumers to get their hands on a bottle.
While the exact amount of Pappy Van produced each year is unknown to the public – it believed to be between 6-7 thousand cases per year with each case containing around 100 bottles.
Pappy Van Winkle Ingredients
The Pappy Van Winkle Bourbon Family Tradition is a 15-year-old bourbon that has been aged in oak barrels for more than 15 years and is made from corn, wheat and barley. What makes this bourbon unique is that it’s bottled at 107-proof. This means it has an alcohol content of 53.5%.
Corn, wheat and barley (barley is used as a source of yeast for fermentation)
Water (from an aquifer under the ground) Also includes trace amounts of other minerals such as calcium carbonate, magnesium oxide and potassium chloride.
The bourbon shortage is officially over. The hype, however, remains.
Stock has been replenished at every price level and there’s plenty of product to go around. But if you don’t believe me, just ask any bar manager or liquor store owner. They will tell you they have more whiskey than they can sell.
The problem, as always in booze matters, is the consumer.
They are not buying the whiskey that’s available because it’s not what they want. What they want is the stuff they can’t get.