For those who don’t know, Pappy Van Winkle’s Family Reserve is one of the rarest and most expensive bourbon whiskeys available in today’s market. Production on this fabled bourbon is severely limited, resulting in just 7,000 cases a year (compare that to the 7 million bottles of Jim Beam distributed annually), making this one of the most sought after liquors in the world. When this liquid version of unobtainium is sold, bourbon aficionados have been known to shown up in throngs just to get a small chance in a lottery to purchase some.
Recently, a massive bourbon heist rocked the company’s Buffalo Trace Distillery located in Frankfort, Kentucky…and we’re talking some serious money here. 65 three-bottle cases of Pappy Van Winkle 20 Year, and nine three-bottle cases of 13-year-old Van Winkle Family Reserve Rye went missing mid-October. Just to put in perspective of how much money the thief, or thieves, got away with, let’s see just how much this stuff is worth. A two-ounce shot of 20-year-old Pappy Van Winkle costs $65, and the even rarer 23-year-old is $75 a shot! Even more shocking is how much a single bottle of Pappy Van Winkle 20 Year sold at Bonham’s auction in New York. $1,190 to be exact. All in all, about $26,000 worth of bourbon went missing from the distillery.
Police still suspect an inside job and are reporting the crime as a theft, but no arrests have been made, and the bourbon thief remains on the loose. It is speculated that the thief removed the cases one at a time over the course of a couple months. There is a secondary market for the scarce whiskey, and police think this is likely where the product will turn up.