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  1. #1
    Taster
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    Mar 2010
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    Cleveland, Ohio
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    How much does a barrel of whiskey cost?

    This is my first post, and I thought I'd start with a question.

    In looking at the "single barrel purchase" thread, I was left with the question of how much a barrel of whiskey costs. I took a look at the cost threads, but didn't see what I was looking for. I understand (not really) the tax costs, but I'm wondering what the wholesale cost of a barrel would be before taxes. I imagine it depends on the age of the barrel and on the size of the distillery (for economies of scale). I would guess there is quite a jump in price after a certain age, and perhaps several big jumps along the way. In one post, I saw a figure of $8000 mentioned for the project, but that was probably for a rare barrel and probably included bottling and transportation as well as taxes.

    Also, is the single barrel project still going?

    Thanks to Straightbourbon.com for a great resource!

  2. #2
    Guru
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    Nov 2007
    Location
    AZ
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    2,726

    Re: How much does a barrel of whiskey cost?

    I think the following factors cover the cost from Distillation to your bunker:

    • Distillery
    • Relationship
    • Number of barrels purchased at one time or in the past
    • Market (current economy status)
    • Availability (similar to Market, but harder to get always cost more)
    • Age
    • Label (e.g. VW Lot B is more than Weller 12 yr)
    • Distributor
    • Transportation
    • Retailer
    • Shipping (or local transit)
    • Taxes at every stage and State (might be the biggest factor in the end)
    I may have missed a couple, but these are the drivers that I have to work with.

    ... and welcome to the site. Drink well

  3. #3
    Connoisseur
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    North Alabama
    Posts
    577

    Re: How much does a barrel of whiskey cost?

    Our local Army Air Force Exchange Service (AAFES) buys barrels of Jack Daniels and has it bottled as the JD Single Barrel for post exchange customers. We get a slight break of a few dollars a bottle retail as a result of their bulk purchase and tax relief. AAFES is non-profit but has a small mark-up to pay for operations. I can deduce that cost savings by buying by the barrel is totally dependent on where you stand in the supply chain.

    In 2006 I was told the cost for a 240 bottle barrel yield of JD Single Barrel was $10K. That was the direct to consumer "guesstimate" at the time. No savings in that example but it was a big pile of JD Single Barrel to hand out to friends and family.
    Often I am forced to deal with the fact that I prefer bourbon over dealing with facts.

  4. #4
    Virtuoso
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    Apr 2005
    Posts
    1,394

    Re: How much does a barrel of whiskey cost?

    The most recent one I did was $65 retail for 131 bottles for $8,515. Wholesale was obviously less, and yes, taxes were a huge part of the cost (40%? more?).

    Roger

  5. #5
    Connoisseur
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    Western NY
    Posts
    840

    Re: How much does a barrel of whiskey cost?

    The JD SB site lists their price at $9000. (USD) give or take.
    That's for approximately 240 bottles (40 cases of 6 bottles).

    That's about right.

  6. #6
    Taster
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    Mar 2010
    Location
    Cleveland, Ohio
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    Re: How much does a barrel of whiskey cost?

    Quote Originally Posted by silverfish View Post
    The JD SB site lists their price at $9000. (USD) give or take.
    That's for approximately 240 bottles (40 cases of 6 bottles).

    That's about right.
    Thanks for the link. They must get a lot of inquiries to have a web page for barrel buying.

    That cost is for a select barrel. It looks like you can pick your own barrel with this program and they bottle it for you, plus you do get the empty barrel! I think I'll stick to buying a bottle in the store.

  7. #7
    Bourbonian of the Year 2010 and Guru
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    Aug 2005
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    Kentucky!
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    4,749

    Re: How much does a barrel of whiskey cost?

    Quote Originally Posted by Doggerlander View Post
    Thanks for the link. They must get a lot of inquiries to have a web page for barrel buying.

    That cost is for a select barrel. It looks like you can pick your own barrel with this program and they bottle it for you, plus you do get the empty barrel! I think I'll stick to buying a bottle in the store.
    Just to point out: Even if you were to go elsewhere to buy a whole barrel, you'd still have to buy it in a store, as liquor has to go through the three tier system. A distillery can't sell to an individual at wholesale price.
    2010 Bourbonian of the Year

    As long as you have good whiskey you're not "unemployed", you're "Funemployed!!!"

    I'm no Pappyophile

  8. #8
    Taster
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    Mar 2010
    Location
    Cleveland, Ohio
    Posts
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    Re: How much does a barrel of whiskey cost?

    Quote Originally Posted by spun_cookie View Post
    I think the following factors cover the cost from Distillation to your bunker:

    • Distillery
    • Relationship
    • Number of barrels purchased at one time or in the past
    • Market (current economy status)
    • Availability (similar to Market, but harder to get always cost more)
    • Age
    • Label (e.g. VW Lot B is more than Weller 12 yr)
    • Distributor
    • Transportation
    • Retailer
    • Shipping (or local transit)
    • Taxes at every stage and State (might be the biggest factor in the end)
    I may have missed a couple, but these are the drivers that I have to work with.

    ... and welcome to the site. Drink well
    That's an impressive list.

    How is the market these days? Is there a shortage? A glut coming?

    Are there big jumps at certain ages? I would guess new whiskey would be relatively cheap, but then you're stuck warehousing it. I'm not sure I could fit one in my garage, but by the time I got near the end, it would be pretty well aged. One can only dream.

    I was reading Cowdery's book and it's only 150 years ago we'd be buying our whiskey in barrels and probably dreaming about getting it in bottles.

  9. #9
    Taster
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Location
    Cleveland, Ohio
    Posts
    52

    Re: How much does a barrel of whiskey cost?

    Good point, barturtle. The state and federal regulations are as daunting as the logistics, but I can't even afford a superpremium bottle these days, much less a good barrel. So even if they could sell it to me, I'm just fantacizing.

  10. #10
    Virtuoso
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Posts
    1,394

    Re: How much does a barrel of whiskey cost?

    Quote Originally Posted by Doggerlander View Post


    ... I would guess new whiskey would be relatively cheap, but then you're stuck warehousing it...
    Federal law requires that spirits be retailed in containers, not barrels. You can receive an empty barrel, but the spirits may not leave a bonded facility except in labeled bottles. (Barrels may be transferred between bonded facilities).

    I believe 1 gallon is the maximum size. All bottles must have pre-approved labels that describe the contents, which in practice means that one usually needs to take the whiskey in standard bottles. Some distilleries will allow barrel purchases to be bottled as barrel proof and unchill filtered (KBD, Four Roses), some will not (BT). You won't be able to avoid the cost of bottling materials or labor.

    So, be careful in whom you want to work with, or you may find yourself pouring watered down, heavily filtered whiskey back into your barrel!

    Roger

 

 

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