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  1. #1
    Trippah and Admin
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    Ohio: Bourbon desert or home of unappreciated brands?

    Ohio members often complain about the lack of bourbon selection in the state that acts as a hat to the eastern flank of Kentucky. How much of this is a real problem and how much is just grumbling for grumbling's sake?

    Ohio is a special kind of control state, so its rules present a challenge to distillers and wholesalers. As a bailment state, all liquor in the state controlled warehouses belongs to the wholesaler up until the time that it is delivered to a retailer where it becomes the property of the state liquor commission or to a bar/restaurant/etc where it is owned by that establishment. Yep, entire warehouses of hooch that are still on someone else's books...great deal for the state IMO. Also, rarely are new products made available to all stores across the state, especially when you step in to the premium category. When Four Roses extended into Ohio, they were given shelf space in roughly 50 stores across the state for their products (going by memory there). It has taken them 3 years to expand the availability (via pull, not push) to the footprint that they have today.

    If you're a wholesaler or producer fighting for retail shelf space for the equivalent of dead stock sitting in Ohio's warehouses, what's your motivation to bring high priced products into a stale environment? I'm not sure there is any unless you're up for the fight.

    The next challenge is that all liquor on retail shelves is sold on a consignment basis. Retail pricing is set by the state with any local price variations being due to the differences in county tax rates or special assessments (like the Cuyahoga county 'sin tax' to finance the Gateway project). If you explore the state website, you can see the prices differences by county.

    For example, a bottle of Eagle Rare Single Barrel retails for $30.95 in Cuyahoga county (including taxes) but only $29.95 in neighboring Lorain county.

    Retailers make as much profit on a $30.00 sale of cheap vodka handles as they do a $30.00 bottle of bourbon so there's little reason to push premium brands.

    The state made $794 million in liquor "proceeds" for 2011, so don't look for the system to change any time soon. Liquor is a big cash cow for the state and they're looking to mortgage the future profits for other needs. That's a topic for PR&C, but necessary to point out for the big picture.

    With all of that in mind, here's a quick summary of what we can get here in our state controlled liquor haven:

    All three Four Roses standard expressions
    Evan Williams Single Barrel
    Elijah Craig 12 and 18
    Buffalo Trace
    Rare Breed
    JTS Brown BiB
    Eagle Rare SB
    Elmer T. Lee

    Weller SR is on the list but OWA is not, so we're hurting as far as wheaters are concerned (outside of the Makers and M46 line).

    Tack on the entire Beam line, Brown-Forman stuff like Woodford and Old Forester and Barton's 1792, and all of the majors are accounted for. VOB 100 handles in one store in Franklin County is a good sign unless someone special ordered a case for themselves

    Many of the premium brands can be special ordered if you want a case lot

    What else would be on your Ohio wish list for daily pours?
    Last edited by callmeox; 12-23-2012 at 08:24.
    My name is Joel Goodson. I deal in human fulfillment.
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  2. #2
    Guru
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    Sep 2004
    Location
    Jackson, MS
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    11,538

    Re: Ohio: Bourbon desert or home of unappreciated brands?

    I've never bought a bottle of whisky in Ohio. My few visits there I was either driving through or close enough to Kentucky that it didn't matter. The presence of Barton BIB is an encouraging sign.

  3. #3
    Virtuoso
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    Jul 2009
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    Massillon, Oh.
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    Re: Ohio: Bourbon desert or home of unappreciated brands?

    I know I can probably get "some" different stuff if I'm willing to travel 20 or more miles for it. I'm not willing to waste the gas or the time on it, so, I suppose that's on me. I can pretty much mail order anything I want, but... someone of age has to be available for delivery. My wife and I both work too many hours to insure that either one of us is home. Neither of my daughters is old enough to sign, so...............

    unfortunately, the only two "real" stores only carry a limited number of "good" whisk(e)y of any kind. Selection is definitely limited to the standard fare. the stores closest to me only carry the most popular brands. Most of them have even stopped carrying JW Black...lol. Basically, the stores close to me cater to low wage, wino types. I know that sounds un PC, but it's just the truth. There is not enough high end consumers to warrant them carrying anything but what they can move quickly. I understand that, but it's very frustrating not to be able to purchase something if you want it.

    I could never purchase PHC, BTAC, WTKS, etc..... (that I'm aware of) around here. Other than the "normal" high/er end stuff, I've never seen most of the stuff you guys talk about on this forum...... and I likely never will.

  4. #4
    Connoisseur
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    Apr 2011
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    Toledo, OH
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    764

    Re: Ohio: Bourbon desert or home of unappreciated brands?

    [QUOTE=ebo;314617]I know I can probably get "some" different stuff if I'm willing to travel 20 or more miles for it. I'm not willing to waste the gas or the time on it, so, I suppose that's on me. I can pretty much mail order anything I want, but... someone of age has to be available for delivery.

    From Toledo, it is 200 miles to KY. I never drive that far just for bourbon but I pass through KY a half dozen times a year and always stock up at Liquor Barn and/or TPS. It is not just the rare bottlings of super premium that are unavailable in OH. I buy at least one handle of AAA 10YO every chance I get. In OH, they only sell 10 Star and the regular AA. As for mail order, the shipping charges are higher than the purchase price of most value pours. As a matter of principle, I object to the state limiting my access. In "free states," if one store doesn't have what you want you can go to another store. In OH, the other stores don't have it either.
    If God made anything better than bourbon he must have kept it for Hisself.

  5. #5
    Virtuoso
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    Re: Ohio: Bourbon desert or home of unappreciated brands?

    [QUOTE=Flyfish;314743]
    Quote Originally Posted by ebo View Post
    I know I can probably get "some" different stuff if I'm willing to travel 20 or more miles for it. I'm not willing to waste the gas or the time on it, so, I suppose that's on me. I can pretty much mail order anything I want, but... someone of age has to be available for delivery.

    From Toledo, it is 200 miles to KY. I never drive that far just for bourbon but I pass through KY a half dozen times a year and always stock up at Liquor Barn and/or TPS. It is not just the rare bottlings of super premium that are unavailable in OH. I buy at least one handle of AAA 10YO every chance I get. In OH, they only sell 10 Star and the regular AA. As for mail order, the shipping charges are higher than the purchase price of most value pours. As a matter of principle, I object to the state limiting my access. In "free states," if one store doesn't have what you want you can go to another store. In OH, the other stores don't have it either.
    Exactly. I don't mail order much of anything anymore. It's the lack of availability in Ohio that pisses me off.

    If we can have 10 star, why can't we have 10 year old? If we can have OGD BiB, why can't we have 114? If we can have HH Old Style, why can't we have HH BiB?

    I guess I don't understand why we can only have certain offerings from a distiller/brand, but we can't get the rest of what they offer. Ohio is a whisk(e)y desert, IMO.

  6. #6
    Advanced Taster
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    Nov 2010
    Location
    West Pennsylvania
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    217

    Re: Ohio: Bourbon desert or home of unappreciated brands?

    I will give Ohio credit for having Old Ezra 101 for only $14.

    I have made the hour round trip to buy a few bottles more than once.

    (Ohioans should also be happy you can mail order bourbon, the Commonwealth of PA forbids such transactions.)
    .
    .
    Rye whiskey makes the sun set faster.

  7. #7
    Enthusiast
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    Sep 2012
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    Markham, ONT
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    490

    Re: Ohio: Bourbon desert or home of unappreciated brands?

    Quote Originally Posted by ebo View Post
    Ohio is a whisk(e)y desert, IMO.
    If you think Ohio is a whisk(e)y desert you should cross to the other side of Lake Ontario. In our desert, oases occasionally appear where our local government monopoly requires the exchange of gold bars for adult beverages. In 2010-11 such gold bars translated into $4.7 billion in sales and $1.63 billion "dividend to the Ontario government, not including taxes". This is justified to "pay for health care, education and other important services".

    ... end of thread jack.

  8. #8
    Virtuoso
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    Re: Ohio: Bourbon desert or home of unappreciated brands?

    I went to the Fisher's store today. I went to get EC12, George Dickel Barrel Select and Ardmore traditional cask. None of those have been available for over a month. Fisher's is the best liquor store in the area. Are these no longer available in Ohio...... or just my area?

  9. #9
    Advanced Taster
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    Dec 2007
    Location
    Parma, OH
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    143

    Re: Ohio: Bourbon desert or home of unappreciated brands?

    I've never seen any of the above in Ohio, or most of what is discussed on these forums for that matter

  10. #10
    Advanced Taster
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    Mar 2012
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    Northeast Ohio
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    Re: Ohio: Bourbon desert or home of unappreciated brands?

    Ohio's selection sucks for the most part. While we may get most of the Beam products and other high production products from various distilleries, it is damn near impossible if not completely impossible to get a lot of the limited selections. I'm not even talking about Pappy or BTAC, but good luck trying to order in a PHC, willett, or even the LE Four Roses offerings. I am just lucky that I have been able to snag some of the offerings from PA (all thanks to a fellow SB'er) and my wife doesn't mind making a weekend (or longer, it takes about 5 hours to get to the border) trip down to KY for some bourbon hunting.

    A part of me wishes that I could just walk into my local state store and pick up any bottle that my heart desired, but to be honest I like the thrill of the hunt as well. When I am finally able to track down a bottle I've been after, either by traveling to get it or through a contact I make on this site, and crack it open it adds that little bit extra enjoyment to that first pour.

 

 

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