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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.
    I grossed over eight thousand dollars in one night. Time of your life, huh kid?

  2. #2
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    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
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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
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    Re: Ohio: Bourbon desert or home of unappreciated brands?

    ETL was a welcome sight when it hit in'11. You hit the bullseye with the wheater statement. We have seen a tiny VW allotment the past two years, but no W12 or OWA, and no Larceny. There is a small amount of BTAC, but in SW Ohio, it is almost exclusively sold from retailers to restaurants and bars. It isn't great here, but it has definitely improved in the recent past.

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

    Off the top of my head Ox, these are the daily pours I'd like to see available to us:

    HH BIB 6yr
    OGD 114
    Ritt BIB
    Mellow Corn

    PS..I'm thinking the JTS Brown was discontinued about a year ago?
    I may be drunk, but in the morning, I'll be sober and you'll still be ugly...WC

  6. #6
    Virtuoso
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    Re: Ohio: Bourbon desert or home of unappreciated brands?

    Quote Originally Posted by Phil T View Post
    Off the top of my head Ox, these are the daily pours I'd like to see available to us:

    HH BIB 6yr
    OGD 114
    Ritt BIB
    Mellow Corn

    PS..I'm thinking the JTS Brown was discontinued about a year ago?
    I have never understood why we can get OGD BiB, but not 114.

  7. #7
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    Re: Ohio: Bourbon desert or home of unappreciated brands?

    Yeah I know, locally I can get Barton 86 but not 100, in Memphis I can get Barton 80,86,90 and 100 but the trip isn't worth half a days time and $50 worth of gas.

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

    I can get OGD 86, 100 or 114 locally though so guess I'll just stay put.

  9. #9
    Connoisseur
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    Re: Ohio: Bourbon desert or home of unappreciated brands?

    Don't fret too much, sounds like the rural market where I live. Sure, I can drive to Dallas to find just about anything, but off your wish lists I can't get:

    Ritt BIB
    Mellow Corn
    HH BIB 6 yr
    PHC
    and only one store carries VOB BIB. Most carry 86 though, a new product for us.

    Also no new taylor stuff out here.

    BTAC is hit or miss, usually Stagg and ER 17 are buyable for a day or two. This year I passed on both as they were almost $120. WTKS is possible in certain stores too.
    "this hobby is supposed to be fun. When it stops being fun, check yourself, because you're doing it wrong." Charles Cowdery

  10. #10
    Trippah and Admin
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    Re: Ohio: Bourbon desert or home of unappreciated brands?

    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. 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.
    How close are you to the Fishers store that ThomasH raves about? They seem to have a good reputation and are happy to hook up special orders.

    WTKS was on the list as recently as two years ago. It didn't sell, so they dropped it. WTAS met the same fate.


    Quote Originally Posted by Phil T View Post
    Off the top of my head Ox, these are the daily pours I'd like to see available to us:

    HH BIB 6yr
    OGD 114
    Ritt BIB
    Mellow Corn

    PS..I'm thinking the JTS Brown was discontinued about a year ago?
    Funny, as I was grocery shopping after my earlier post, it struck me that the OGD 114 was missing from my 'entire Beam line' statement. It hit me when I took a call from a guy at work asking for help finding a good, cheap bottle of bourbon. I steered him away from Old Crow and to the OGD BiB. Missing the 114 is big hole, as well as the HH BiB.

    I picked up a case of Ritt BiB in Stark Co. a number of years back after DeanSheen tracked it down via phone. He and I split it up after I muled it back north. May be worth a special order reqest.

    I saw the JTS 100 on the shelf at a great store in Mentor over the summer but there are jut 14 stores with either the 750 or handle listed on the state site, so you may be correct that it is on its way out. I put a few away after Parker Beam signed them for me in Bardstown.

    I'm not a corn fan, but it would be cool to have a reasonably priced option. 13th Colony corn is available at a premium.


    Quote Originally Posted by ebo View Post
    I have never understood why we can get OGD BiB, but not 114.
    I feel the same way, but it is available in PA at a good price. That's where I've been known to cure my "burnt corner of the brownie pan" bourbon jones.
    My name is Joel Goodson. I deal in human fulfillment.
    I grossed over eight thousand dollars in one night. Time of your life, huh kid?

 

 

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