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View Full Version : Signs you live in Bourbon Hell



JayMonster
02-04-2012, 09:50
Obviously not everybody has such problems, and I didn't realize until I started digging, just how lacking the distribution of bourbon was here in NJ, and I don't know if people here don't drink bourbon because of the lack of bourbon, or the other way around. Regardless, at times it seems clear that I am in bourbon hell.

Signs you live in bourbon hell:

1. The most pervasive and best selling bourbon is Red Stag.

2. Discussions on variety of bourbon has trouble getting past Jim Beam, Old Grand Dad and Wild Turkey.

3. Stores carry more expressions of Macallan than brands of bourbon.

4, The one store that gets Pappy 20 has it on the shelf for months on end.

5. Basil Hayden goes for the same price and is a better seller than Wild Turkey Rare Breed

6. "Top Shelf" choice in most restaurants is either Jim Beam Black or OGD 114

7. Liquor Store owner tries to tell you that "they stopped bonding bourbon in the 50's"

8. The only Weller to be found is OWA... and that has to be ordered

And I am sure there are others. Do you live in a bourbon hell State? What signs do you see?

Edit: forgot to add my Number 1 proof of Bourbon Hell... Being told Maker's Mark is the only "world class" whiskey made in the US.

TomH
02-04-2012, 09:58
I'm not sure where in New Jersey you live, but your negative experiences are much different that mine. I had a great stop when passing thru New Jersey a little over a year ago. I found great prices and plenty of good bourbon (BTAC was one of my main buys). A few stores consistently show up on my wine-searcher queries for bourbon (and also I have to admit it is a great scotch source too). One of the bigger internet sources (and they also have a brick and mortar presence) is located in New Jersey.

If you want to see bourbon hell (along with scotch and wine hell) go next door to PA.

Ejmharris
02-04-2012, 10:16
Or Ohio!


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clingman71
02-04-2012, 10:22
Or Ohio!


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Ohio, indeed, but there are signs of some improvement.

JayMonster
02-04-2012, 10:30
In all fairness, yes I can find some bourbon than the basics, but it just seems to be more work than it should. I mean I can find Johnnie Walker Blue easier and in more stores than a bottle of Old Weller Antique. I can walk to the local liquor store and find $200 bottles of Single Malt Scotch, but ask for a Knob Creek Single Barrel and you are talking about a special order. (yes, shoppers vineyard is a decent source, but they have far more available via the web than actually in store, the rest has to be ordered store pick up)

We talk about bourbon being in a "boom" era and that being part of the reason you see things like age stated levables disappearing, and yet so many brands it seems don't even have a solid presence nationwide.

I just find it frustrating to read about so many things that just cannot be found here. And I don't mean a Pappy or some other elusive limited brand... I mean Weller 12, or other such brands/bourbons. It just doesn't make sense.

Jonny.Applebury
02-04-2012, 10:35
...
3. Stores carry more expressions of Macallan than brands of bourbon.
...

Let's be fair. The makers of The Macallan are prolific. Perhaps not as much as Bruichladdich. :grin: If you'd said Tormore, however...

Jonny.Applebury
02-04-2012, 10:47
In all fairness, yes I can find some bourbon than the basics, but it just seems to be more work than it should. I mean I can find Johnnie Walker Blue easier and in more stores than a bottle of Old Weller Antique. I can walk to the local liquor store and find $200 bottles of Single Malt Scotch, but ask for a Knob Creek Single Barrel and you are talking about a special order. (yes, shoppers vineyard is a decent source, but they have far more available via the web than actually in store, the rest has to be ordered store pick up)

We talk about bourbon being in a "boom" era and that being part of the reason you see things like age stated levables disappearing, and yet so many brands it seems don't even have a solid presence nationwide.

I just find it frustrating to read about so many things that just cannot be found here. And I don't mean a Pappy or some other elusive limited brand... I mean Weller 12, or other such brands/bourbons. It just doesn't make sense.

Start making change happen by finding out who the distributors for your area and state are. Call them up and make requests that they start bringing in more products. Be specific, and the moment you see them bringing in the product you requested, start requesting another. I've had conversations with the buyers for my local distributors while they're in the bigger area stores restocking the whiskies. They are usually open to feedback and requests, especially if they sense that you're an enthusiast. Enthusiasts make buyers' jobs easier, because enthusiasts usually spread the word on good products.

Do the same with your local retailers. Those relationships can land you opportunities that you would otherwise never come across. One retailer near me has a wife who works for an importer. He brings in a bottle or two of hard-to-find products from across the pond and calls me up to see if I am interested in buying them. I usually oblige him. I know that you're interested in bourbon, and that bourbon doesn't come from across the pond. That just makes your job easier. You don't need to find such a rare connection!

cbus
02-04-2012, 12:41
Or Ohio!


This right here. Especially when you're in Columbus, smack-dab in the middle. I love my home town, but the liquor selection is what it is.

ethangsmith
02-04-2012, 13:52
I can see there aren't many of you in PA. Be glad you can even legally ORDER whiskey you want. In PA, the state government owns and controls ALL wine and liquor. If they don't carry it or have it in one of their warehouses, it is illegal to get it. Our whiskey selection here is probably the worst I've seen in any state so far. It's truly pathetic.

JayMonster
02-04-2012, 14:05
I can see there aren't many of you in PA. Be glad you can even legally ORDER whiskey you want. In PA, the state government owns and controls ALL wine and liquor.

Not quite State run here, but you can't order from Out of State in NJ either.

ethangsmith
02-04-2012, 16:20
Wow, I thought only PA lived in the prohibition era with their archaic laws! I wonder how prevalent this blatant stifling of alcohol product selection is. I thought PA truly was the be-all, end-all of the worst whiskey selection on earth. At least Maryland isn't too far away............

DogfaceSoldier
02-04-2012, 17:19
I live in coastal Georgia and my local liquor store's top shelf bourbon is MM and WR. I did happen to find 3x bottles of Old Rip Van Winkle 90 proof for $26 a bottle...yes, I did buy all three of them.

fishnbowljoe
02-04-2012, 20:50
I've posted this picture before. This is a store in my town near where I bowl.

Tico
02-04-2012, 22:31
4. The one store that gets Pappy 20 has it on the shelf for months on end.


Some might call this bourbon heaven.:cool:

JayMonster
02-05-2012, 05:32
Some might call this bourbon heaven.:cool:

Yeah, I know... But I don't have the palate, I guess, for a top shelfer like that and would trade it for a few bottles of Weller 12 (or other such bourbon not available in NJ) if I could.

Happyhour24x7
02-05-2012, 06:04
Jay, I feel for you. I used to vacation on the NJ shore, and it certainly is a bourbon wasteland. VA is state controlled as well; we have decent selection of standards, but very little of any of the good stuff unless you special order. Thank God for mail order and DC.
Ethan, perspective is funny; I am actually jealous of my friend in PA- he has regular access to much better selection than I do here. He does have a much harder time getting shipments though.

Old Lamplighter
02-05-2012, 06:29
Fortunately, I am in the state taking up the entire southern border of the great state of Kentucky and avoid many of the above-mentioned problems. I guess if secession comes back in style, we will at least have JD to fall back on this time...lol...it could be worse...I guess.

callmeox
02-05-2012, 07:05
This right here. Especially when you're in Columbus, smack-dab in the middle. I love my home town, but the liquor selection is what it is.

Your selection problems can be solved by a half day round trip starting on I-71 south.

Dayton is even closer to the solution.

WsmataU
02-05-2012, 07:09
Fortunately, I am in the state taking up the entire southern border of the great state of Kentucky

Only a Volunteer would refer to KY as a state instead of its appropriate title of Commonwealth....:slappin: sorry I couldn't resist!

ebo
02-05-2012, 07:45
It sounds like Ohio isn't the only state that sucks for any kind of selection.

At least I can mail order different stuff.... even though I don't do it often. That is it's own pain in the ass, due to having to have someone of legal age to sign for it. It's kind of hard to do when you and your spouse hold full time jobs. :rolleyes:

I wish I was a Vodka fan...... I'd have 27,000 brands to choose from. :lol:

Smithford
02-05-2012, 07:49
Well ... speaking of the Commonwealth - be glad you don't live in Ontario. Add NJ + PA + OH then multiply it by 100% markup (tax) then you'll be close to hell.

Things we've never seen in ON: Weller (any Weller at all), BTAC, BTEC, Pappy (except for Lot B and ORVW10/90), most Four Roses (apart from Yellow label and Small Batch), any WT other than the bottom shelf 80 proof, and worst of all - any Rye except for Ritt BIB. No, wait - we've had Baby Saz on special release twice in the past 3 years - $45 if you can find it.

Here are some other examples of our pricing:
Beam White $26
WT 80 $28
Bulleit $38
BT $40 (when they release a batch, once per year)
EC12 $40
Corner Creek $40 (that's the best one - it's "on sale" now for $30) :eek:
Knob Creek $46
Lot B $72

Oh, and we have to listen to everybody calling Canadian Whisky "Rye" when it's not Rye. It's brown vodka. Frustrating. :rolleyes:

mosugoji64
02-05-2012, 08:24
Ouch! Sounds like slim pickins' in several places. I have to say that the last time I was in PA I didn't think the selection was too bad. Not the best, but I've seen worse. That said, it did make me appreciate what we have in Indy a little more. It's still frustrating to be right across the river from KY and see certain labels get shipped north and west of us but never make it here. :rolleyes: At least Louisville and Covington are only a couple of hours away!

yountvillewjs
02-05-2012, 13:09
Can anywhere be as bad as Hawaii? I think it gets a pass because, well... it's Hawaii. But terrible awful selection out there. (At least on Maui)

ThomasH
02-05-2012, 13:16
Well ... speaking of the Commonwealth - be glad you don't live in Ontario. Add NJ + PA + OH then multiply it by 100% markup (tax) then you'll be close to hell.

Things we've never seen in ON: Weller (any Weller at all), BTAC, BTEC, Pappy (except for Lot B and ORVW10/90), most Four Roses (apart from Yellow label and Small Batch), any WT other than the bottom shelf 80 proof, and worst of all - any Rye except for Ritt BIB. No, wait - we've had Baby Saz on special release twice in the past 3 years - $45 if you can find it.

Here are some other examples of our pricing:
Beam White $26
WT 80 $28
Bulleit $38
BT $40 (when they release a batch, once per year)
EC12 $40
Corner Creek $40 (that's the best one - it's "on sale" now for $30) :eek:
Knob Creek $46
Lot B $72

Oh, and we have to listen to everybody calling Canadian Whisky "Rye" when it's not Rye. It's brown vodka. Frustrating. :rolleyes:

I go to Windsor once or twice a year and always find something at the LCBO to bring back. Every once in a while I find something that would otherwise have to be FedExed from the UK. American whiskey is high there but the real killer is the duty coming into Canada. It very much limits purchases at duty free in Detroit. We usually load up on the way back to the US but duty free doesn't always have the same bottles in Windsor as Detroit!

Thomas

EW Slurps
02-05-2012, 13:47
It sounds like Ohio isn't the only state that sucks for any kind of selection.


I wish I was a Vodka fan...... I'd have 27,000 brands to choose from. :lol:

Be careful what you wish for.

camduncan
02-05-2012, 15:26
Well ... speaking of the Commonwealth - be glad you don't live in Ontario.

<snip>

Here are some other examples of our pricing:
Beam White $26
WT 80 $28
Bulleit $38
BT $40 (when they release a batch, once per year)
EC12 $40
Corner Creek $40 (that's the best one - it's "on sale" now for $30) :eek:
Knob Creek $46
Lot B $72


Then be double thankful you don't live in Australia!! If I use your list, it would look like this:

Beam White $34 (700ml bottle, 37.5% abv)
WT 80 Not available
Bulleit $42
BT $50 (700ml bottle, 40% abv)
EC12 $65
Corner Creek not available
Knob Creek not available

Other prices from our market:

Bookers $89
Blantons Brown Label Private Reserve $65
Eagle Rare 10yo $70
Black Cherry (Red Stag) $35 (700ml bottle, 30% abv)
Makers Mark $40 (700ml blttle, 40% abv)
Rare Breed $70
Woodford Reserve $60

So, Australia officially gets my vote as the COUNTRY of Bourbon Hell :hot: :slappin:

timd
02-06-2012, 08:58
I wish I was a Vodka fan...... I'd have 27,000 brands to choose from. :lol:

Yeah, but they all taste identical...

JayMonster
02-06-2012, 09:15
Yeah, but they all taste identical...

Not entirely true... Rhe good ones taste like water... The cheap stuff, more like rubbing alcohol.

ebo
02-07-2012, 18:24
Not entirely true... Rhe good ones taste like water... The cheap stuff, more like rubbing alcohol.
For the record: I like a few cocktails made with vodka, but I don't really drink it. :cool:

I am amazed at the variety of vodka that is on the shelves in any liquor store I go into. I am also amazed at the scarcity of whisk(e)y on the shelves, in comparison.

Can someone tell me why there is so much Bourbon, Scotch, Irish and other whisk(e)y available, but we can't/aren't allowed to get it in Ohio?

JayMonster
02-08-2012, 08:04
For the record: I like a few cocktails made with vodka, but I don't really drink it. :cool:

I am amazed at the variety of vodka that is on the shelves in any liquor store I go into. I am also amazed at the scarcity of whisk(e)y on the shelves, in comparison.

Can someone tell me why there is so much Bourbon, Scotch, Irish and other whisk(e)y available, but we can't/aren't allowed to get it in Ohio?

I also have no "issue" with Vodka, and have been known to put away a Vodka Collins or 6 while grilling.

But what I don't get is, much like you, why there are SO MANY, and why stores seem to insist on stocking so many Vodka products, and yet always seem to have limited space for their bourbon.

I mean really, how much difference is there between Stoli and Grey Goose and Absolut and whatever else is considered a "premium" vodka?

Can't even begin to try and figure the States when it comes to who will/won't import what. There seems to be so little rhyme or reason to any of it.

BBQ+Bourbon
02-08-2012, 08:12
North Dakota must be in the running for worst selection in the nation. They have Wild Turkey 101, Jack Daniels, Makers, and.... ummm uhhhh....

Well, what it lacks in selection, North Dakota makes up for in price; WT101 is $30 a liter.:rolleyes:

Needless to say when traveling to ND, take your living accommodations and your bourbon.

Henry_Hill
02-09-2012, 05:39
Ohio, indeed, but there are signs of some improvement.

Im slowly starting to realize that Ohio really does suck in the bourbon world. Quite a shame actually. And you're totally right, all anyone raves about around here is Makers! I mean yeah I like it, but I'm not so naive as to believe that every dollar you pay for a bottle is going towards the quality of the whiskey. I think of Makers in the same sense that I think of JD, its good, but its not what its cracked up to be.

RickF
02-10-2012, 07:41
North Carolina is pretty bad, too. It is another state where the state runs the stores and controls the selection. South Carolina is not great, but much better than NC. Unfortunately, I am 300 miles from Tennessee (and, obviously, even farther from the Great Commonwealth of Kentucky).

Fortunately, I have family in Kentucky and Maryland, so I stock up when I visit.

For some odd reason Elijah Craig is less expensive in NC than it is anywhere else I have looked, but everything else is more expensive in NC than in SC, MD, or KY.

reg
02-20-2012, 08:43
Alabama Beverage Control.

Flyfish
03-24-2012, 07:06
Can someone tell me why there is so much Bourbon, Scotch, Irish and other whisk(e)y available, but we can't/aren't allowed to get it in Ohio?[/quote]

EBO, I posed this question to my local liquor merchant. He echoed your (our) complaint. He said he has a customer of the African-American persuasion who has asked several times for some Hennessy Gognac Black. Merchant claims the rep from Ohio Liquor Control said there was no market for the black label in his demographic and therefore he would not be getting any. Evidently, the "market" in Ohio is what the bureaucrats declare it to be regardless of what the people who comprise the market think they want. That's why I buy far and away most of my bourbon in Kentucky.

ebo
03-24-2012, 09:00
I figured as much. :rolleyes:

ebo
03-24-2012, 09:03
This is why Ohio needs to get out of the alcohol business. The store owners would soon learn what will move and what won't. It should be left up to them to decide what to carry or not.