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schwoo

Empty bottles pappy Vanwinkle on eBay

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schwoo

What’s the deal with so many empty bottles of Pappy Van-winkle on sale on eBay? Are people really filling these up with Other bourbon, re-capping them, and selling them as original?

 

Why is there even a market for used empty bottles??

 

 

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flahute
8 minutes ago, schwoo said:

 

What’s the deal with so many empty bottles of Pappy Van-winkle on sale on eBay? Are people really filling these up with Other bourbon, re-capping them, and selling them as original?

 

Why is there even a market for used empty bottles??

 

 

 

Yes.

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fishnbowljoe

There’s at least four possible scenarios. 

 

1. Some people actually collect empties. Amongst other things, people make lights/lamps and candles out of them.

2. Yes, some folks refill and resell them. 

3. Some of ‘em ain’t really empty. XXX dollars for an empty Pappy 20. Contact seller for details.

4. Bragging rights. Oh Yeah, I have a bottle of Pappy. Good stuff. I finished it a long time ago. Still have the empty. :lol:

 

Biba! Joe

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flahute
1 hour ago, schwoo said:

 

What’s the deal with so many empty bottles of Pappy Van-winkle on sale on eBay? Are people really filling these up with Other bourbon, re-capping them, and selling them as original?

 

Why is there even a market for used empty bottles??

 

 

 

To expand further, there are verified and documented cases of refills being sold on secondary due to some smart people finding the "sold" empties listings on eBay and matching the laser codes to refills. 

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Richnimrod
15 hours ago, flahute said:

To expand further, there are verified and documented cases of refills being sold on secondary due to some smart people finding the "sold" empties listings on eBay and matching the laser codes to refills. 

Sad but true.... and a cautionary tale showing yet another reason why one should avoid the "Seconadry (illegal) Market like the plague that it is.

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schwoo
There’s at least four possible scenarios. 
 
1. Some people actually collect empties. Amongst other things, people make lights/lamps and candles out of them.
2. Yes, some folks refill and resell them. 
3. Some of ‘em ain’t really empty. XXX dollars for an empty Pappy 20. Contact seller for details.
4. Bragging rights. Oh Yeah, I have a bottle of Pappy. Good stuff. I finished it a long time ago. Still have the empty. :lol:
 
Biba! Joe

Excellent response/post. Thanks

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0895
On 2/20/2019 at 10:05 PM, fishnbowljoe said:

 

 

1. Some people actually collect empties.

 

 

No idea why I keep these...  I guess for the memories.

Most are bar “trophy’s” from finishing bottles. One empty came from a nice guy to help me complete the collection.  :)

The GTS is the first bottle from the first time I ever tasted GTS.  I went back every week and drank most of that bottle pour by pour.  Talk about love.  No other bourbon has ever quite measured up...

 

(The lot b is being used as a decanter right now, that’s why it’s missing from the family photo)

 

FCE6CED1-314B-47AB-8E26-8F929E25919C.jpeg

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schwoo

GTS is my absolute favorite

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jvd99
On 2/23/2019 at 6:26 PM, 0895 said:

 

No idea why I keep these...  I guess for the memories.

Most are bar “trophy’s” from finishing bottles. One empty came from a nice guy to help me complete the collection.  :)

 

FCE6CED1-314B-47AB-8E26-8F929E25919C.jpeg

To the OP’s question: YES.  

 

These are your great memories.  I have numerous empties for the same reason.  Totally understandable.  But I don’t see a big eBay market for someone else’s empties just to display

 

The most reasonable explanation for the empty PVWs on eBay is money both for the seller and the  counterfeiter.  All it takes is some matching foil to seal it back up which can be easily purchased online.  Watch out....there’s all sorts of actual cases, evidence and scientific studies proving the secondary markets in wine and spirits are filled with counterfeits convincing enough to fool auction houses and the most experienced collectors 

Edited by jvd99

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pouringwhiskey

I'm not sure what the rules are for dropping names, so I will leave that out, but I was listening to a popular bourbon podcast that recently had an episode that touched on this. Apparently BT is aware these empties are being purchased, filled, and resold, but they don't have enough evidence to make any moves. 

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Whiskeythink.com
On 2/20/2019 at 10:05 PM, fishnbowljoe said:

There’s at least four possible scenarios. 

 

1. Some people actually collect empties. Amongst other things, people make lights/lamps and candles out of them.

2. Yes, some folks refill and resell them. 

3. Some of ‘em ain’t really empty. XXX dollars for an empty Pappy 20. Contact seller for details.

4. Bragging rights. Oh Yeah, I have a bottle of Pappy. Good stuff. I finished it a long time ago. Still have the empty. :lol:

 

Biba! Joe

5. People refill them, then impress their friends by offering a pour of Pappy. Probably many wont know the difference anyway.

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ThirstyinOhio

I could see bars buying and refilling the bottles too

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jvd99
On 2/25/2019 at 11:07 AM, pouringwhiskey said:

I'm not sure what the rules are for dropping names, so I will leave that out, but I was listening to a popular bourbon podcast that recently had an episode that touched on this. Apparently BT is aware these empties are being purchased, filled, and resold, but they don't have enough evidence to make any moves. 

They shouldn’t need actual evidence to protect their brand.  I can’t imagine adding security measures like a hologram, proprietary foil, proprietary shrink wrap (or all three) or something else to the VW line and BTAC would be too much of an issue 

Edited by jvd99
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Jazz June
On 2/26/2019 at 1:52 PM, jvd99 said:

They shouldn’t need actual evidence to protect their brand.  I can’t imagine adding security measures like a hologram, proprietary foil, proprietary shrink wrap (or all three) or something else to the VW line and BTAC would be too much of an issue 

While I agree that relatively little seems to have been done by the large distilleries in stopping counterfeiters, I'll note that for Van Winkle in particular, it may not be up to BT (Sazerac) alone or at all. For example, the Van Winkle Whiskey Company has acted to protect the VAN WINKLE trademarks, using their own attorneys, rather than Sazerac's. Really going after the counterfeiters would be quite a bit of overhead for what I understand to be a two person company that primarily picks barrels.

 

Also, if the fakes are so good that even experts can't tell, how would it be proven in court that the defendant was selling counterfeits? I'm still surprised there isn't more crackdown on it though, because the unlicensed sale of alcohol is illegal itself.

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marshall9779
They shouldn’t need actual evidence to protect their brand.  I can’t imagine adding security measures like a hologram, proprietary foil, proprietary shrink wrap (or all three) or something else to the VW line and BTAC would be too much of an issue 

They shouldn’t need to but it wouldn’t be the first time such measures were taken. Cohiba, probably the most counterfeited brand of cigars went to a cigar band with holograms back in 2014 I believe but still doesn’t stop people from counterfeiting. They will still find enough people that don’t know what to look for even if they do things like that.
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flahute
1 hour ago, Jazz June said:

Also, if the fakes are so good that even experts can't tell, how would it be proven in court that the defendant was selling counterfeits?

Chemical analysis.

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LCWoody
10 minutes ago, flahute said:

Chemical analysis.

I'm just playing the devils advocate here, but now you get into "tax" payers money and is it worth the cost. Me personally, the free market will weed them out. They may get away with it once, but the way info moves now they want get away with it very long. I'm not belittling your point, just getting into whos going to pay for it, and why should people that have nothing to do with bourbon pay for it.   

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flahute
1 hour ago, LCWoody said:

I'm just playing the devils advocate here, but now you get into "tax" payers money and is it worth the cost. Me personally, the free market will weed them out. They may get away with it once, but the way info moves now they want get away with it very long. I'm not belittling your point, just getting into whos going to pay for it, and why should people that have nothing to do with bourbon pay for it.   

It's not an expensive test and doesn't take long.

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jvd99
12 hours ago, Jazz June said:

 

 

Also, if the fakes are so good that even experts can't tell, how would it be proven in court that the defendant was selling counterfeits? I'm still surprised there isn't more crackdown on it though, because the unlicensed sale of alcohol is illegal itself.

If it tastes like Jim Beam or is just colored water.  ;)

 

In europe, private sale and auction of spirits are legal and that’s where a lot of fakery is happening - it’s well documented.    Every single spirit auction in Europe has PVW for sale and it’s easy for those bottles to make their way into our domestic secondary market.  Of course, there’s also home grown fakery that probably goes unpunished because, like you said, the underlying transaction was likely illegal dissuading reporting, it’s not super easy to prove, good luck tracking down the stranger from Facebook who sold the bottle and Federal law enforcement probably doesn’t care some guy with money to burn lost $2k on a fake bottle of PVW

 

Wine has been counterfeited forever and fooled the elite investors and auction houses over and over again.  There are a plethora of examples of expert collectors and auction houses being duped.  One of the billionaire Koch brothers bought a massive amount of fake wine and launched a highly funded campaign to get to the bottom of it.  It was on TV in the last year on 20/20 or Dateline - just google it.  The lessons from wine fakes are applicable to spirits now that prices have gone so far up during the boom.  

 

Bottom line - an authentic bottle of PVW on eBay is just easy money for a criminal

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jvd99
12 hours ago, marshall9779 said:


They shouldn’t need to but it wouldn’t be the first time such measures were taken. Cohiba, probably the most counterfeited brand of cigars went to a cigar band with holograms back in 2014 I believe but still doesn’t stop people from counterfeiting. They will still find enough people that don’t know what to look for even if they do things like that.

I’m no expert, but I think every cigar that comes out of Cuba has a serial number issued by the government that can be verified on a government run website at the point of purchase (go communism!). There are multiple layers of security for all Cuban cigars.  Additionally, the only place to securely and safely buy Cuban cigars is a worldwide network of stores authorized (possibly owned) by the government.  Buying outside that network increases the risk of buying a fake exponentially. 

 

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beasled
13 minutes ago, jvd99 said:

If it tastes like Jim Beam or is just colored water.  ;)

 

In europe, private sale and auction of spirits are legal and that’s where a lot of fakery is happening - it’s well documented.    Every single spirit auction in Europe has PVW for sale and it’s easy for those bottles to make their way into our domestic secondary market.  Of course, there’s also home grown fakery that probably goes unpunished because, like you said, the underlying transaction was likely illegal dissuading reporting, it’s not super easy to prove, good luck tracking down the stranger from Facebook who sold the bottle and Federal law enforcement probably doesn’t care some guy with money to burn lost $2k on a fake bottle of PVW

 

 

Whilst there may be some fakes on the European auction sites, I would add to add that in some areas of Europe (London, Paris in particular), it really isn't difficult to get PvW repeatedly throughout the year, so whilst there is a large amount on the European auction sites this isn't necessarily due to lots of fakery. 

 

Going back 5-10 years ago you could pick up a bottle once a month if you knew the right places!

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jvd99
8 minutes ago, beasled said:

 

Whilst there may be some fakes on the European auction sites, I would add to add that in some areas of Europe (London, Paris in particular), it really isn't difficult to get PvW repeatedly throughout the year, so whilst there is a large amount on the European auction sites this isn't necessarily due to lots of fakery. 

 

Going back 5-10 years ago you could pick up a bottle once a month if you knew the right places!

I’m not implying they are all fake, I have no idea.  But it would defy common sense to believe there are no fakes.  It’s up to each person weighs that risk if they run in those circles 

 

as an aside - Whisky Advocate also had an entire issue dedicated to counterfeits in the last year. 

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mross

Was curious so went and looked on ebay. Wow there are quite a few for sale and some fairly expensive. I also saw a WA107 empty for sale at almost the price I paid for a full one!

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Saul_cooperstein

There are many interesting anti-counterfeiting and authentication advancements being made on wine side. Maureen Downey Etc. 

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Jazz June
21 hours ago, flahute said:

It's not an expensive test and doesn't take long.

I don't know anything about this, but the tests can reliably tell the difference between WSR and PVW? What about Weller 12 and PVW? It's one thing if it is something wildly different, but if they can really tell the difference easily between these closer relatives, then I'm impressed.

 

 

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