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Flyfish
04-23-2013, 16:32
I have two complaints about the availability of bourbon in Ohio: 1) The state sets the price; 2) The state determines what will be sold here.
Price is not always a major issue even though, for example, Blanton's costs $10 more here than in Arizona where I bought my last two bottles. On occasion, the price for some bourbon is actually lower here. More importantly, some bourbon is not available here regardless of price. So, I buy the Big Three (AAA, OWA, and VOB) by the handle when I'm in KY.
Some bourbon is supposedly available here, according to the state's website, but that's news to the merchants who supposedly carry it in my county. Weller Reserve, for example, sells for $11.65! Really? If that were true, my local merchant would sell a boat load of it. And WLW has a controlled price of $69.95. Really? That's news to my merchant. He's never seen a bottle.
With all that rant out of my system, I decided to be grateful for what I've got. Maybe I can't get the Big Three, but I can get Old Ezra 101 for only $14.
The question for SBers in control states is, what are you glad that you can get even though your state limits your choices?

miller542
04-23-2013, 17:01
You think you have it bad? I moved from Ohio to Utah. The scenery got much better but the heavy hand of the state controlling the alcohol got much worse.

Its not that bad I guess, I can get any and all High West, any and all Wild Turkey, and all the "standard" offerings. We even get a few things I never saw in OH like Rittenhouse BIB.

What I really miss is Great Lakes, Goose Island, and Yuengling.

Danger
04-23-2013, 18:08
I moved from Chicago IL to Durham NC, and I really miss the Goose Island too. But craft beers aside, I'm glad the ABC board at least stocks Booker's and enough other fun things to keep me busy like the Knob Creek Rye.

TheNovaMan
04-23-2013, 23:15
MI has twice the selection of any other control state, and three times the selection of one or two of the others (all spirits, not just bourbon), so I rarely complain about living in a control state. The whiskeys I'm most thankful for are Mellow Corn BIB, EW BIB, and Ritt BIB.

What do I wish I could get? It's not a very long list: VOB BIB, VOB 80, HH gold and white BIBs, and Ten High straight. (We get Ten High blend, sadly, but that isn't up to the state AFAIK.)

ratcheer
04-24-2013, 06:04
Alabama sucks, too. I have found that I can get some specialty items in licensed private stores at cutthroat prices. That is where I can get things such as Pernod, Campari, and Carpano vermouth. But I will not pay their whiskey prices, so I don't really even pay attention to them.

At the ABC (state) store, there are a few interesting bourbon choices, but nothing super special. On the other hand, the walls are lined with strange vodkas.

Tim

Richnimrod
04-24-2013, 06:07
Off-hand the only one I crave (or once did) that I can't get in Michigan is Noah's Mill. I say; "once did", because the last bottle I picked up in KY (last fall) didn't seem as lovely and dynamic as the one I acquired there in '10. In a perfect world I'd have gotten bottle of George T. Stagg last fall; but never could. Other than that, I complain about the prices, like many do, but the selection in MI is pretty good for the most part. :rolleyes:

VAGentleman
04-24-2013, 08:02
We have a pretty good selection in Virginia. We get VOB, all the Bowmans, ETL, Blantons, all the Four roses, all the OGD, The Forrester Birthday bourbons, the BTAC's, an occasional Pappy. So I can't complain much. Wish we got OWA and Weller 12

Josh
04-24-2013, 09:36
MI has twice the selection of any other control state, and three times the selection of one or two of the others (all spirits, not just bourbon), so I rarely complain about living in a control state. The whiskeys I'm most thankful for are Mellow Corn BIB, EW BIB, and Ritt BIB.

What do I wish I could get? It's not a very long list: VOB BIB, VOB 80, HH gold and white BIBs, and Ten High straight. (We get Ten High blend, sadly, but that isn't up to the state AFAIK.)

We used to get Ten High as a straight here not too long ago. With a little hunting, you could probably find some.

ThirstyinOhio
04-24-2013, 13:41
I have the same problem Flyfish, I used the Ohio liquor boards website in attempt to track down things such as PVW 15 and Stagg only to be told in some foreign language that they have no clue what the hell I'm talking about (I have no problems with foreigners owning liquor stores, but it can be frustrating at times trying to get them to understand). I have resigned myself to the fact that I will simply have to make pilgrimages to KY or order online to get the "good" stuff.

higgins
04-24-2013, 18:21
We have a pretty good selection in Virginia. We get VOB...

Really? I know that it's in DC, but I've never seen VOB in a Virginia liquor store.

VA does have a pretty decent selection for a control state, though. They have some good sales as well, it's hard to beat 4RSmB for $28 around these parts.

TheNovaMan
04-24-2013, 20:46
We used to get Ten High as a straight here not too long ago. With a little hunting, you could probably find some. Good to know. ;)

ebo
04-25-2013, 15:33
The question for SBers in control states is, what are you glad that you can get even though your state limits your choices?

I'm happy with all the bourbon we can get in Ohio. Obviously, I would like more to choose from, but that doesn't seem like it will ever happen.

As far as what I would like to get? It would be nice if we could get ALL of the FR products instead of the three standard releases. I'd like to be able to get ETL.... I've never tried it. I'm sure there are many I'd like to get that I can only read about on here.

Can someone in the know please tell me what determines what the state will allow or not... and why?

Flyfish
04-25-2013, 16:50
I'd like to be able to get ETL.... I've never tried it. I'm sure there are many I'd like to get that I can only read about on here.

Can someone in the know please tell me what determines what the state will allow or not... and why?
I found ETL at Weiland's in Columbus. Chris, the manager, seems to be interested in moving the control agents off their behinds to better serve bourbon consumers.
As for determining what goes on in the mind of bureaucrats, good luck with that. My local merchant says he has a customer who wants Hennessey Black but the state won't let him sell it because he is "in the wrong democraphic." Wouldn't it be nice if the customer were allowed to decide what demographic he wanted to be in?

VT Mike
04-25-2013, 22:48
Vermont is pretty hit or miss. The selection isn't huge, but I guess it's not bad for a state with only 500,000 people. Some prices seem high, some prices seem low. I think when the prices are low sometimes it's because the product has been sitting in the warehouse for 10 years or more, then they hike the price when they order more from the wholesaler and realize it is now a lot more expensive. That happened with Dickel #12 a few years ago, price jumped from $12 to $24 after it was unavailable for a few months.

The big frustration is in dealing with the state. I sent them an email a few months ago asking if any of the 84 proof Maker's Make made it's way to Vermont. Never even got a reply to that email. I actually threatened them (in a very polite way) with the Freedom of Information Act last year to get a spreadsheet of what they had in inventory.

A few weeks ago I was at a local store and the guy working there was complaining about dealing with them trying to order Buffalo Trace Single Oak Project bottles. He wanted certain barrel numbers and they wouldn't even tell him what they had. He tried to make requests for certain ones on his order, but they just sent him whichever random ones they grabbed. When the state had the BTEC a few years ago (rediscovered barrels) they made no distinction between the 17yr, 19yr and 21yr. I actually didn't even know it was the rediscovered barrels until they got to the store that I asked to special order one for me. Luckily the guy at the store ordered 6 bottles, and they got a 21, two 19's and three 17's. Of course I won't complain about the fact that they were somehow priced at $22 a piece. Yes, I took one of each.

I'm only an hour drive from the closest store in Hew Hampshire. It's also a control state, but it seems to be a little better run and with slightly lower prices. They actually post each product's inventory online for each store and update it daily, so if I'm after something special I can see how many bottles are in which stores. I used that to track down a Stagg a few years ago when I couldn't get any in my home state.

But there are times that I get frustrated and just wait until I'm visiting my parents in the Boston area to go whiskey hunting.

DPPSmoker
04-26-2013, 20:38
I agree with other folks from Michigan. Michigan has a pretty good selection. Michigan shares the same allocation problems that all other states deal with for the limited bottlings like Pappy and BTAC. But there are some bottles I wish we could get here. It downright breaks my heart that Four Roses Small Batch Limited 2012 was not available here. I found it odd after Four Roses Single Barrel Limited 2012 was available. I have sent two emails to Four Roses and the Michigan Liquor Control Commission pleading with both parties to make sure all future Four Roses limited bourbons are offered for retail in Michigan. I only got a response from the MLCC after my first email. Four Roses did not respond to either email. I'm pretty disappointed with that. I have not heard one word about FRSB Limited 2013 being available in Michigan.

I would also love to see Vintage and the Willett Family Estate bottles available in Michigan as well.

Flyfish
05-05-2013, 15:11
Responding to my own OP, although I can't get AAA, VOB, or OWA in OH, I am really glad that I can get Old Ezra 101 for a little over $14. Enjoyed a couple of pours on the swing this afternoon under an uncharacteristic blue Ohio sky. Nice to get that dark chocolate-coffee hit. Another value pour by my lights.