NKY store begins Van Winkle bourbon lottery

BELLEVUE, KY (FOX19) - This is, perhaps, the best time of year for bourbon fans: the release of the Van Winkle Bourbons.

An article that ran in The Atlantic a few years ago may describe the quest for Van Winkle best: "The Bourbon Everyone Wants But No One Can Get."

The Old Rip Van Winkle Distillery provides a map of stores that may be carrying the bourbon on its website. For residents in the Tri-State, there are three area locations listed on that map. Of those three, Bellevue, Ky.'s The Party Source said Thursday it was carrying tickets for Van Winkle.

The Party Source lottery should be running through Nov. 26.

Known for their smoother and sweeter flavor due to their wheat recipe vs a traditional rye recipe found in most bourbons, Van Winkle bourbons are aged years longer than most others and garner an impeccable reputation among connoisseurs.

The 13-Year-Old Van Winkle Reserve Rye will not be released this year.

"We have a one year gap in barrel inventory for the Van Winkle Rye. Our current barrels are 12 years old. So rather than compromise on quality or remove the age statement, we decided it would be best to hold off this year and bottle them next year as the 13 Year Old Rye Whiskey fans have come to expect," said Kris Comstock, senior marketing director.

The Van Winkle collection consists of several whiskeys. Suggested retail prices from the company are as follows:

  • $59.99 - Old Rip Van Winkle Handmade Bourbon 10 Year Old 107 proof
  • $69.99 - Van Winkle Special Reserve Bourbon 12 Year Old
  • $99.99 - Pappy Van Winkle’s Family Reserve Bourbon 15 Year Old
  • $169.99 - Pappy Van Winkle’s Family Reserve Bourbon 20 Year Old
  • $269.99 - Pappy Van Winkle’s Family Reserve Bourbon 23 Year Old

"Unfortunately we do not control the pricing retailers charge, so many retailers mark it up, even though we ask them not to," said Julian Van Winkle, president, Old Rip Van Winkle Distillery. "We have not raised prices and do not intend to do so drastically in the future. We are committed to our quality and our pricing and hope retailers will honor what we suggest as retail pricing."

All of the Van Winkle's whiskey production now takes place at Buffalo Trace Distillery under the same strict guidelines the family has always followed.

Upon release of the Van Winkle bourbon this fall, Buffalo Trace warns consumers to be wary of online resellers such as Craigslist and other online marketplaces, especially private Facebook groups.

"Some bottles they are selling might be counterfeit, filled with lesser whiskey, or worse, something that's not even whiskey and potentially dangerous," added Comstock. "At the bare minimum, it's illegal to buy and resell whiskey if you are not a licensed retailer, and we're not afraid to take action if we find out."

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