If I have to buy something off the bottom shelf I'll probably grab a bottle of Ten High, which is Barton whiskey. I find young Beam (which is what Old Crow is too) okay in very small doses. Early Times is another possibility. Old Fitz prime is usually a little more, but a far sight better in my opinion.
The bottom shelf is also where you find most of the American blends, which are a good choice for the value shopper, especially if you're going to mix it with Coke or something. A little bit of whiskey flavor without the bite and burn of a cheap bourbon.
Of course, real "blue collar" consumers actually tend to buy Jack Daniel's and not whatever is cheapest.
Rebel Yell, though not what it used to be (i.e., Stitzel-Weller) still isn't bad for $10 per 750ml.
My vote for blue collar bourbon is Ancient Age 100. At 23.19 a 1.75L at Party Source in Newport, Ky it is one of the best basic bourbon purchases I have ever made!
BT gets my vote... it's my daily pour.
Old Forester 100, Ancient Ancient Age, Old Fitz 1849, Evan Williams Black, Old Fitz BIB. Prices of OGD BIB, WT 101 and Jim Beam Black vary somewhat, but they're probably close to that price-range in some places.
Ancient Age and Buffalo Trace.
But, I'd rather drink less of something I really enjoy than more of something less special. Live is too short to drink cheap whiskey.
My state is an ABC state and everything is fairly expensive. There's not really anything fit to drink that I can get for less than $15, except maybe Old Grand Dad 86-proof. I usually buy WT 101 as my standard pour, but I think it is up around $19, here. Elijah Craig 12-yr is $18 and I like it pretty well.
Also, no matter how high the prices are, they don't seem to mind raising them higher. :hot:
I get WT101 for $15.99. Fits my blue collar style, taste, and price range.
Over the years, the best inexpensive bottle for my money has been Dickel. Sticking to true bourbon, I'd pick Old Heaven Hill 10 YO, which is under ten bucks a bottle and delicious. Strangely, I know of only one store in South Jersey that stocks it!
I'll drink these very reasonable price bourbons any day of the week and be very happy:
Old Grandad BIB
Very Old Barton BIB
Jim Beam Black Label
Rittenhouse Rye BIB
I'll add 2 more that can sometimes be bought around $18, Elijah Craig and Elmer T Lee.