PDA

View Full Version : How Much is Left in the Nation?



Gillman
08-26-2010, 12:59
I was one of the early members of the board, not the first, but one of the early ones, to point out the relative wealth of riches in terms of older bottles still on the retail shelves. I think I probably mentioned National Distiller's products first, and maybe some Pennsylvania ryes, and the original Michter's Sour Mash (although if I am not mistaken, no one on the board has ever bought off the retail shelf a Michter's Original Sour Mash whether in bottle or decanter, I am referring to regular store-bought liquor. Ditto for the original 90 proof Jack Daniels. Ditto for Maker's Mark from the 1980's or earlier).

Since those early years, people have contributed great knowledge and information and of course thousands of bottles have been snapped up. And a good thing too, with many SB ers getting clued in to the tastes of yesteryear (so often felt superior to today).

My question is, and I know there are lots of members good with numbers and stats and extrapolations, is there any decent guesstimate of what might still be out there? A few thou of bottles sounds a lot, but how much is it really in terms of the likely subsisting national stock of historical bottles, say those made up to 1980 (or pick your date)? 10%? 50%? 90%?. I am talking regular retail store availability.

Gary

sgtgto
08-26-2010, 17:03
I think there is more out there that what most people can appreciate. I get around a bit and get to hunt on my company's dime. I have been to plenty of places where I was told that I would not find anything and have left with more bottles than I could carry.

The easy stuff is still out there. Bob and Tony spent 2 hours hunting in Houston and scored a ton of SW OWA and ER101. DC area is still ripe. L.A. is a goldmine. And these are city centers. Not even getting into back roads stores where gems are still hiding out.

ethangsmith
08-26-2010, 17:07
States like Pennsylvania don't have "dusties" on the shelves because of their tight inventory control. I've gone down to Maryland on several occasions and found some older stuff (mid-90's) still on the shelf.

sgtgto
08-26-2010, 17:14
the original Michter's Sour Mash (although if I am not mistaken, no one on the board has ever bought off the retail shelf a Michter's Original Sour Mash whether in bottle or decanter, I am referring to regular store-bought liquor.

You mean a bottle like this?

ethangsmith
08-26-2010, 17:37
HOLY SMOKES (see my profile picture). I have a "mild" addiction to everything Michter's and seeing full glass bottles is awesome. I've got what equates to at least 10 gallons worth of Michter's between my glass bottles and the dozens of full decanters I have. I, however, didn't buy any of them from liquor stores back in the 70's and 80's as I was only born in 1983!

hectic1
08-26-2010, 17:45
I think there is more out there that what most people can appreciate. I get around a bit and get to hunt on my company's dime. I have been to plenty of places where I was told that I would not find anything and have left with more bottles than I could carry.

The easy stuff is still out there. Bob and Tony spent 2 hours hunting in Houston and scored a ton of SW OWA and ER101. DC area is still ripe. L.A. is a goldmine. And these are city centers. Not even getting into back roads stores where gems are still hiding out.
How do I get in touch with your boss to stop such an act from happening in the future? :)

Gillman
08-26-2010, 18:30
Good to hear, especially that some (at any rate) of those Michter's were purchased in stores. Hopefully there is more, somewhere.


Gary

TNbourbon
08-26-2010, 19:29
You mean a bottle like this?
I, too, was the second-generation owner of one of those: I got it from someone who purchased it off the shelf of a country liquor store in Georgia (Acworth, I believe -- Friendly Liquors, perhaps? Joe or Jim?) c. 2005.
I suspect Gary tasted from it, in fact.

TBC
08-26-2010, 21:06
You mean a bottle like this?

Johnny on the spot, gimme that!

sgtgto
08-29-2010, 10:22
I, too, was the second-generation owner of one of those: I got it from someone who purchased it off the shelf of a country liquor store in Georgia (Acworth, I believe -- Friendly Liquors, perhaps? Joe or Jim?) c. 2005.
I suspect Gary tasted from it, in fact.

That bottle was purchased by me from a liquor store in Detroit early this year. 11$ out the door. I haven't opened it yet. I also know of a king tut decanter on a shelf, somewhere. I didn't pick it up as I had too much WSR to fly back with.

dgonano
08-29-2010, 14:19
I know first hand that the Michter decanters lose a lot of their enclosed contents through evaporation. I wonder if that is the reason forthe decanting and bottling of the whiskey.

SMOWK
08-29-2010, 16:40
I know first hand that the Michter decanters lose a lot of their enclosed contents through evaporation. I wonder if that is the reason forthe decanting and bottling of the whiskey.

The king tut decanter I bought the other day filled a 750ml bottle.

spun_cookie
08-29-2010, 16:44
Its a big world... I bet a lot. There are so many places in the US that are depressed and have not moved product in a very long time... I would say from 10 years ago at least 50 of it is still out there.

cowdery
08-30-2010, 10:09
I got several of the Michter's bottles from a liquor store here in the Chicago area, after a tip from a friend, but that was probably 15 years ago. At about the same time I found several Old Taylors from the early 70s.

I'm amazed there are any true dusties out there, in that I'm shocked how many retailers don't have rudimentary inventory control. Nothing should sit on your shelf for 20 years.

SMOWK
08-30-2010, 11:29
I'm amazed there are any true dusties out there, in that I'm shocked how many retailers don't have rudimentary inventory control. Nothing should sit on your shelf for 20 years.

Have you seen the show "Hoarders"? I really think some store owners have this same "disease".

jinenjo
09-03-2010, 23:42
I would certainly wager that it's definitely less than 50%, and diminishing exponentially each year. From the areas that I've covered, along with my brethren, Nor Cal is pretty much down to less than 10%.

One never knows for sure. From my experience, the best finds were in urban places that once were more populous and now have a contingency that sticks to beer, cheap brandy, or vodka. In other words, the best finds are areas not quite out in the sticks, but are now run down inner city regions. Then again someone recently posted some huge haul from North Carolina, I think (an urban area? I don't know).

As for the nation as a whole, this conjecture may not apply. But judging from the other regular postings of finds (i.e. Detroit, D.C., Chicago, and Houston) there may not be that many metropolitan areas left that hold such treasures.

sgtgto
09-04-2010, 01:37
I would certainly wager that it's definitely less than 50%, and diminishing exponentially each year. From the areas that I've covered, along with my brethren, Nor Cal is pretty much down to less than 10%.

One never knows for sure. From my experience, the best finds were in urban places that once were more populous and now have a contingency that sticks to beer, cheap brandy, or vodka. In other words, the best finds are areas not quite out in the sticks, but are now run down inner city regions. Then again someone recently posted some huge haul from North Carolina, I think (an urban area? I don't know).

As for the nation as a whole, this conjecture may not apply. But judging from the other regular postings of finds (i.e. Detroit, D.C., Chicago, and Houston) there may not be that many metropolitan areas left that hold such treasures.

I disagree. There are near weekly posts about finds in Houston. DC and the surrounding area has dusties all over the place. Chicago I would say is pretty cleaned out. Detroit still holds some finds. I hunted for a couple hours and came out with a dozen dusties. People say areas are hunted out.. then you have members going in and pulling out L'ville Centennials and VSOF.

Skunk
09-04-2010, 12:46
I disagree. There are near weekly posts about ... pulling out L'ville Centennials and VSOF.

I thought we were talking about an earlier era (pre 80's), but I think the numbers being thrown around are way too high at any rate.

I've done some pretty extensive 'research' on this very topic in my area, having been to almost all of the ~100 stores inside the i465 loop. Say they each, at one time, had 100 _bottles_, not decanters, of pre 80's bourbon on the shelf. How much is left today? Well if you can find a single bottle with a tax stamp that I missed (which I doubt, unless it was old back room stock), then that would mean that .01% of the pre 80's bourbon that was once on the shelf is still there.

I'd imagine 80's is about .1% (ten in the city somewhere) and 90's is getting around 1% - or, every liquor store might have one from the 90's, or some have three and some none... but even that seems like a stretch in my experience around here.

wadewood
09-04-2010, 13:07
My guess is that is definitely dwindling. Still plenty to find here in Houston, but not like it was 3 years ago. I have visited about 450 of the 522 stores in Harris County and kept and Excel spread sheet on those locations. Trust me I bought my share but also left behind plenty of stuff. I find stores that I made notes of 1-2 years ago and go back and they are wiped clean. Still, sometimes a store I have visited several times then on next trip, they have something different that either I missed before, or found in the back, or bought another stores inventory.

At the same time, the industry is creating new dustys for us to hunt. WTRR 10/101 and ER 10/101 are a couple that come to mind.

Special Reserve
09-05-2010, 04:17
I'm not as habitual with my bourbon organization as Wade, but I've gone into stores that I have regularly purchased from and suddenly there are old bottles that were not on display on many previous trips. This has happened at least twice once I found a OFitz BiB from 1979, the other time I found a Pewter topped WTKS. Either bottle I would have captured on sight.

Gillman
09-05-2010, 04:54
My experience with this is mostly in New York City and San Francisco. In both places, stores in past years at the edges of the city, generally in modest districts, had the best selections of old bottles. In New York, it was almost always ND and generally OT or OG. When I go back to the same places, you can still find bottles sometimes, but not as much as before. In SF, the same applies basically but there was more variety, e.g., I've seen 70's Dickel, 60's Harper, Beam decanters, brands that were unique to the area sold by bottlers like Frank-Lin, and 70's Heaven Hill (two bottles with a corn-heavy old-timey taste). Persistence often pays off though, and I find this is so almost anywhere.

Gary