I think the price increases on the premium brands (Van Winkles, BTAC, etc) are due to basic economics. If you quickly sell every widget you make, you're not charging enough for your widgets. Now, are the increases coming from the producers or at the wholesale level? Ohio's BTAC price has been the same for two years, so I'm not sure.

Shortages drive up the prices. People snapping up bottes to sell on eBay (and people who patronize these eBay sellers) drive up the prices. Expanding popularity for a product that takes 8, 10, 12 plus years to create drives up prices...