An image of bottles and the bag 20-year Pappy Van Winkle Bourbon is sold in.
Lexington, KY - The Franklin County Sheriff says someone - possibly a Buffalo Trace employee - has done what many bourbon fans have joked about doing, stolen thousands of dollars worth of rare Pappy Van Winkle whiskey from the distillery's warehouse.
“Right now we are looking at it as an internal theft,” Sheriff Pat Melton said. But given 50 employees have access to the warehouse that stores the expensive craft whiskeys, Melton said it will be just about as hard to find the thief as it is for fans of the family of coveted whiskeys to find a bottle at a retailer.
The much sought-after whiskeys made at the Buffalo Trace Distillery, a 13-year-old rye and bourbons aged 10, 12, 15, 20 and 23 years are released in small numbers once a year. With the time of release approaching, bourbon country was already abuzz as enthusiasts tried to get inside tips on when they could plunk down the more than $200 retail price for the most expensive of the spirits, the 23-year.
In all, 65 cases of the 20-year variety and nine of the rye were taken from the Frankfort warehouse. Unlike most liquors, cases of the higher-end Van Winkle family products hold only three bottles as major Kentucky liquor retailers are lucky to get their hands on even a dozen bottles of any variety for the year.
In all, Franklin County officials estimate the haul at more than $26,000, but that's the retail price for the whiskey. With secondhand sales of the bourbons reaching $3,500 for the 23-year and around $1,000 for the 20 on the site wine-searcher.com, the Franklin County baron might have been looking for a larger payday with this heist.
Information from the Frankfort State-Journal via the Kentucky Press News Service was used for this article.