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pyro273

How do you all acquire these bottles?

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pyro273

Serious question.  How does one go about getting a BTAC or PVW or any other rare and hard to find bottle?   Zero chance of finding one on the shelf at retail or something close so am I relegated to the secondary market or paying the ungodly amounts that any given LS would be charging?  The ones I do have have been acquired through extreme luck an auction and some horse trading (forgive me...) but it's increasing evident to me that further acquisitions are going to result in me going one of the routes above, thereby reinforcing the epidemic of greed that is the bourbon collector market.

 

For example, retail for 2018 for ER17 is $100 and if I want to pay 10 times that I can probably pick up a bottle tomorrow somewhere.  Even at $600 or $700, that's still extreme and now I've got a $700 bottle of bourbon on the shelf to drink...don't know about that.  Is that what the rest of you all are really doing, if I can ask?

 

 

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tanstaafl2

No easy answer to this. For me it is now about the relationship I have built over the years at my favorite store. Otherwise you can pretty much fuggidaboudit!

 

Even that doesn't always guarantee me a chance at buying the latest BTAC or "Pappiez" and I won't even considered them (or anything else that goes into instant secondary insanity) unless it is at or near retail AND that retail price isn't already carrying a built in secondary price markup. Which essentially means I don't buy much of them anymore.

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Kane

You said it, extreme luck. Having good relationships with your whiskey monger, and actively researching what raffle happens where during the season increases your chances. Not much else to think or talk or worry about, it's outside your control.

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BMartin42

Simple answer is that in the last 5-6 years...I don’t. Haven’t got any LE recently other than Wild Turkey. The ones I still have are all at least 6-7 years old and several are earmarked for specific events. There used to be a relationship thing at the local but that went by the wayside and they now just put it in the case at secondary markets. Obtainable if willing to pay those prices. I am not.

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Vosgar
21 minutes ago, BMartin42 said:

Simple answer is that in the last 5-6 years...I don’t...………... The ones I still have are all at least 6-7 years old...………….... There used to be a relationship thing at the local but that went by the wayside and they now just put it in the case at secondary markets. Obtainable if willing to pay those prices. I am not.

Pretty much sums up my situation as well. Other than a WLW I stumbled upon at MSRP 2 years ago, there's been nothing because I refuse to pay ridiculous prices.

 

All I can tell you, Pyro, is don't worry about it. It's been said many times here on SB there's plenty of wonderful whiskey available at reasonable prices. Don't put so much emphasis on those "holy grail" bottles, they're very good but none are life changing and certainly not worth the secondary prices they command. Just find what you like that's readily available and enjoy them.

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lcpfratn

Obviously it depends on where you live. If you live in a control state, you are pretty much relegated to the state or store lottery, the secondary market or trading with other bourbon friends. In other states, your options include the same thing as a control state except for the state lotteries that some have, but you can also build store relationships. It usually takes years to build relationships, and even then there are no guarantees that a good relationship with a store will result in you being offered the hardest to find items. Remember, there are likely other good customers that have built a relationship with a store long before you.

I participate in one store lottery and have relationships at several stores that have taken years to develop...that means spending lots of money on daily drinkers, store picks, wine, beer and other things throughout the years. Building a store relationship is expensive, but should also develop new friendships. Good luck in your pursuits!

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fishnbowljoe

As only Frank Sinatra could expound, "Luck Be A Lady".  

 

Unless you've spent a boat load of money at a local store, or have connections, for the most part it ain't gonna happen. Hell, even if you have, it's still a crap shoot at best. I've been into this crazy "hobby" for nigh on 12 years now. Early on, BTAC and Pappy languished on shelves, sometimes for months on end. Folks pretty much had their pick of things back then, at or sometimes even below msrp mind you. Then in late 2012 early 2013, the s**t  hit the fan. At one store in particular, I'd spent a crap ton of money over the years and was told basically "take a number." Since 2013, I found myself pretty much shut out from all the LE items. (Partly my own fault because I wasn't willing to pay secondary market/gouging prices.) Early last year I lucked into a few things, and late last year I was involved in a lottery and had my ticket drawn. All in all, 5 bottles all at retail. I kept three WLW's, and a GTS and a Handy were shared with other members here. "Aqui es la vida." In so many words, such is life. If you're new to this hobby, take a number and wait in line like the rest of us. I'm not trying to be an ass or anything, but many folks here have more than paid their dues over many years, and have still been s**t on so to speaK. I consider myself one of the lucky few, and have nothing but empathy for those I consider less fortunate. Yeah, it's a pain....

 

Biba! Joe

 

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kevinbrink

A couple friends have gotten bottles at big chain lotteries, I however have only bought them when I was lucky enough to find them on the shelf at or near retail. Side note to this I spend far too much time in liquor stores....

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pyro273

Thanks for the insight, everyone; very much appreciated!  I gain valuable knowledge and insight from this forum on almost a daily basis!!

 

To be sure, I am not obsessed with getting these bottles but the pours of PVW20, WTW, and ER17 that I have had I REALLY enjoyed so it would be nice to have them round although I understand that the experience may not be the same the next time around.  It looks like I'll be sticking to getting it when I out at a bar that has it and I feel like splurging.  Note: the bar at the Delta terminal in Denver International Airport has been known to have RVW10, PVW15, and the occasional BTAC....that was the last place I expected to find LEs like that.

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lcpfratn
Thanks for the insight, everyone; very much appreciated!  I gain valuable knowledge and insight from this forum on almost a daily basis!!
 
To be sure, I am not obsessed with getting these bottles but the pours of PVW20, WTW, and ER17 that I have had I REALLY enjoyed so it would be nice to have them round although I understand that the experience may not be the same the next time around.  It looks like I'll be sticking to getting it when I out at a bar that has it and I feel like splurging.  Note: the bar at the Delta terminal in Denver International Airport has been known to have RVW10, PVW15, and the occasional BTAC....that was the last place I expected to find LEs like that.

Of the three at the top (I assume you meant WLW r/t WTW), the only one I’ve been able to get my hands on is WLW. The ER17 and PVW20 continue to evade me, but I have tried both thanks to another friendly SB member.

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pyro273

Yep, thanks for the correction, WLW it was....

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Clueby

Yeah my problem now is the stuff that I would want to buy as "daily drinkers" to bring my annual spend up so that I qualify for their lotteries or being a top customer are now considered to be LE or allocated.  I drank Weller all the time before it suddenly disappeared when someone somewhere said it was "just like Pappy".  There isn't much bourbon I buy that isn't on an allocated list of some sort so I have a hard time meeting their quotas.  Even ER10 gets tater postings when it is spotted at a grocery store for near retail.  The occasional VOB or BT comes home with me but even those are sometimes hard to find now and it takes a LOT of those to equal a lottery ticket or grand reserve status.

My only resort anymore is to get lucky or a heads up from another SBr.

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Adam777

Just like the others stated:

1. Luck - extremely rare but there is always a “friend” that stumbled upon BTAC years ago and gives you hope to spend countless hours driving to LS trying to get lucky.

2. Relationships with LS owners - and like Joe said even that isn’t enough sometime. Sometimes the owner doesn’t value loyalty just cash. I had a good relationship with a LS owner and he offered me ORVW for $300. No thanks!

3. Lottos - usually from a control state but these can be fun. Last year when my wife was pregnant she was my good luck charm. 

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berto

Relationships and luck.  My relationship store was gentrified out of existence so I'm down to luck.  There's a chain that gives me chance so I take my shot with them and otherwise don't worry about VW and BTAC.  I have plenty of bottles of other stuff to drink and shelves are full of affordable bottles that are in the same ballpark of goodness.

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Vosgar
6 hours ago, Clueby said:

to bring my annual spend up so that I qualify for their lotteries or being a top customer ......................

so I have a hard time meeting their quotas. ................... 

it takes a LOT of those to equal a lottery ticket or grand reserve status.............

This is complete bullshit as far as I'm concerned, and sorry if I'm offending anyone. Preying on your customers with a legal scam. It's so sad that this is fairly common in the liquor store business these days and it pains me to see good people held up like this.  (please believe me, this isn't personal, Clueby)

 

"Hey everyone, you need to spend tons of your hard earned money at my store so that perhaps, maybe, if you're lucky, you'll qualify for the opportunity for a chance to spend even more money at my store and get a special bottle. And.....you have to do this each and every year!"

 

What a crock!  (getting down off the soapbox now)

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GaryT

As others have said, plenty of other really great bourbon out there (although admittedly, not as much as there once was in terms of readily available, or for a reasonable price).  If you can find a local store that doesn't already have X great customers already ahead of you, that's a great strategy.  

 

Personally, I made my last BTAC purchase in 2014, and that was just dumb @#$%ing luck on my part.  I have zero - absolutely zero - expectation of ever buying another BTAC or PVW at retail.  Sure, there are lotteries, and depending upon the rulesthat may work for you.  Many local to me require purchases of their single barrel bottles for a ticket to the party.  I totally get Vosgar's frustration on this point (and not arguing he's wrong), but I will say at least I respect their attempt at some quantifiable means of rewarding loyal customers (versus the buy who comes in and talks A LOT with the owner but doesn't buy as much).  

 

The whole lottery system just doesn't work for me though.  Even those who don't require a purchase - I'm not spending the time to visit the store and throw my name in the hat because there are SOOOOO many names in those hats already - and as stated - there are plenty of other great whiskies out there which don't require this much effort.

 

I'd love to know what it feels like to drive a Maserati at triple digits, but I've accepted that just isn't in the cards for me.  Don't get me wrong - some folks LOVE the chase, and that is better than winning the prize.  For those folks, keep on keeping on.  For me, the bottles I do have that I acquired before the shit got downright ridiculous out there - I treasure them, and I thank my lucky stars for having gotten into bourbon before that time.  If I were getting into it today, knowing what I know, I'd look for private selections - try them in the parking lot, and if they sing to me - buy like no ones watching.  A solid private selection can be as good as some of these "unicorns" out there.  Proof in point - I wouldn't trade you a GTS for a GBS RR pick from July 2015.  And that was under $50 out the door.  

 

Drink wisely my friend, and best of luck to you!

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Vosgar
26 minutes ago, GaryT said:

The whole lottery system just doesn't work for me though.  Even those who don't require a purchase - I'm not spending the time to visit the store and throw my name in the hat because there are SOOOOO many names in those hats already - and as stated - there are plenty of other great whiskies out there which don't require this much effort.

I'm very fortunate that the lottery I entered last December (and got an ORVW at retail) happens to be in the liquor department of the grocery store where we do most of our shopping, and it's about 5 minutes from my house. Talk about convenience! :) 

 

BTW Gary.....very nice, level headed post (unlike the rantings of a grumpy guy :unsure:)

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GaryT
17 minutes ago, Vosgar said:

I'm very fortunate that the lottery I entered last December (and got an ORVW at retail) happens to be in the liquor department of the grocery store where we do most of our shopping, and it's about 5 minutes from my house. Talk about convenience! :) 

 

BTW Gary.....very nice, level headed post (unlike the rantings of a grumpy guy :unsure:)

Thanks Gary!  Wow - I think maybe I take more time when I'm drinking to not come across as having been drinking :lol:  

 

I know other folks (if I'm not mistaken, @maybeling scored a WLW last year in a lottery) who have done well with the lottery system.  To your point - if it was convenient - I'd definitely participate.  Unfortunately the stores that do a "no purchase necessary" lottery are a solid 30+ minute drive (and it is all over facebook, so feels like there are thousands of folks gunning for what might be 10 bottles?)  But to each their own.  I'm perpetually envious of my old man for having built a great relationship with a local store that has paid dividends (not only in LE stuff, but I'm looking forward to trying their private Blanton's pick which sounds like it will be delicious!)

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Clueby
2 hours ago, Vosgar said:

This is complete bullshit as far as I'm concerned, and sorry if I'm offending anyone. Preying on your customers with a legal scam. It's so sad that this is fairly common in the liquor store business these days and it pains me to see good people held up like this.  (please believe me, this isn't personal, Clueby)

 

"Hey everyone, you need to spend tons of your hard earned money at my store so that perhaps, maybe, if you're lucky, you'll qualify for the opportunity for a chance to spend even more money at my store and get a special bottle. And.....you have to do this each and every year!"

 

What a crock!  (getting down off the soapbox now)

I don't take it personally...why would I?  However...you can rant all you want but at the end of the day it's pure capitalism and supply and demand. The LS has it. We want it. Their job is to make money. If, in their opinion, they are doing the best things to maximize their profit and provide for their families that is their decision. I don't have to like it..or shop there. If enough people stop, then the business owner has to change his strategy. Until the taters stop paying $180 for W12 or $100 for Blanton's they have no incentive to change their business model.  Case in point is the local store that makes you (well...not me because I won't) buy $100 in stuff for the "right" to but a $50 ER or a $90 Stagg Jr. or $100 Blanton's.  I literally heard a customer that was buying well over $100 in wine ask about Blanton's. When told the price he told the manager that he just bought one a few weeks ago at another store for $56. The manager told him..."Then go shop there".  He and his wife walked out leaving his would-be $100 purchase of wine behind. The manager could have cared less.

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lcpfratn
I don't take it personally...why would I?  However...you can rant all you want but at the end of the day it's pure capitalism and supply and demand. The LS has it...
...I literally heard a customer that was buying well over $100 in wine ask about Blanton's. When told the price he told the manager that he just bought one a few weeks ago at another store for $56. The manager told him..."Then go shop there".  He and his wife walked out leaving his would-be $100 purchase of wine behind. The manager could have cared less.

Unfortunately, we live in a time when shops can get away with this type of behavior. And as long as the Taters are still willing to shop at stores that do business this way they will continue to survive until they don’t. The ominous statement that is oft repeated in The Game of Thrones is, “Winter is coming!” In the liquor store business, the thing they should keep in mind is that eventually, “A glut is coming!”
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Richnimrod
8 hours ago, lcpfratn said:

... the thing they should keep in mind is that eventually, “A glut is coming!”

Well, maybe. 

But not likely anytime soon, and maybe  not a thing to hope for, in any case.    Adequate supply would be a thing to wish for.   ...Maybe even slightly more than adequate.

But, a "glut" such the one that nearly broke a good number of the majors (and did break many) would not be a good thing. 

Of course that situation was brought about in large measure by a steep, steady and long-lasting decline in demand for Bourbon (with many 'new drinkers' opting for lighter fare and clear spirits).   As the older supporters of many brands dropped from the market, or their consumption declined, the market for Bourbon simply was no longer enough to support the production (that hadn't declined for a good long time as the majors were late to recognize the trend for what it was, or for how durable a trend it would be).

I for one do not foresee the demand for Bourbon, especially the highly touted premium brands and LE's, declining enough to offset the limited supply for at least 10-more years.   Of course taters being as driven as they seem to be by the 'next bright, shiny bauble' some moderation of the demand may occur before that.   But, I doubt it.

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lcpfratn
Well, maybe. 
But not likely anytime soon, and maybe  not a thing to hope for, in any case.    Adequate supply would be a thing to wish for.   ...Maybe even slightly more than adequate.
But, a "glut" such the one that nearly broke a good number of the majors (and did break many) would not be a good thing. 
Of course that situation was brought about in large measure by a steep, steady and long-lasting decline in demand for Bourbon (with many 'new drinkers' opting for lighter fare and clear spirits).   As the older supporters of many brands dropped from the market, or their consumption declined, the market for Bourbon simply was no longer enough to support the production (that hadn't declined for a good long time as the majors were late to recognize the trend for what it was, or for how durable a trend it would be).
I for one do not foresee the demand for Bourbon, especially the highly touted premium brands and LE's, declining enough to offset the limited supply for at least 10-more years.   Of course taters being as driven as they seem to be by the 'next bright, shiny bauble' some moderation of the demand may occur before that.   But, I doubt it.

Rich, a couple of points in response.

1. I did say “eventually” in my post, and I didn’t say I was hoping for a glut. However, while I don’t know when the eventuality of a glut will occur, booms and busts are typical in economic cycles, and are almost guaranteed at some point with any product or economy.

2. I don’t think a decline in demand will necessarily be the issue that causes a glut this time. I’m concerned about the massive increase in supply that will eventually hit within the next five to ten years from both the majors and the hundreds of new distilleries that have started up in the past few years.

3. “...the majors were late to recognize the trend for what it was, or how durable a trend it would be.” What makes you think they’ll be able to recognize a trend of too much supply at some point this time?

4. I don’t disagree that most premium and LE bourbons will continue to be in high demand as long as their quality and quantities stay somewhat within current bounds. If supply increases too much or quality is perceived to decline for whatever reason, however, then all bets are off.

This is a great discussion item for the gazebo at the GN in April. I’m sure we’ll have it all figured out after a few nice pours and enlightened discussions. I’m looking forward to it. Cheers my friend!
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Richnimrod
1 hour ago, lcpfratn said:


Rich, a couple of points in response.

1. I did say “eventually” in my post, and I didn’t say I was hoping for a glut. However, while I don’t know when the eventuality of a glut will occur, booms and busts are typical in economic cycles, and are almost guaranteed at some point with any product or economy.

2. I don’t think a decline in demand will necessarily be the issue that causes a glut this time. I’m concerned about the massive increase in supply that will eventually hit within the next five to ten years from both the majors and the hundreds of new distilleries that have started up in the past few years.

3. “...the majors were late to recognize the trend for what it was, or how durable a trend it would be.” What makes you think they’ll be able to recognize a trend of too much supply at some point this time?

4. I don’t disagree that most premium and LE bourbons will continue to be in high demand as long as their quality and quantities stay somewhat within current bounds. If supply increases too much or quality is perceived to decline for whatever reason, however, then all bets are off.

This is a great discussion item for the gazebo at the GN in April. I’m sure we’ll have it all figured out after a few nice pours and enlightened discussions. I’m looking forward to it. Cheers my friend!

I wasn't disagreeing with anything you said, my friend, only pointing out my thoughts of the timing and supply/demand issues. :)  And, I don't disagree with any of the points you make in the response either.   You do make an excellent point about difficult it will be for the majors (who must produce so much for today's demand) to predict demand FAR into the future.  We'll all have to 'stay tuned', as they say.

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Bob_Loblaw
16 hours ago, Clueby said:

I literally heard a customer that was buying well over $100 in wine ask about Blanton's. When told the price he told the manager that he just bought one a few weeks ago at another store for $56. The manager told him..."Then go shop there".  He and his wife walked out leaving his would-be $100 purchase of wine behind. The manager could have cared less.

Good for that customer! 

 

To the OP my tips are all as follows:

1 - Start now to build the relationship.  Stores get hundreds of calls per day in October/November when BTAC/Pappy drops.  It is super annoying for the managers and if you try to contact them close to the release you will just be lumped in with all of the guys who are pestering them.

2 - Many stores have the allocated items handled by one person.  Find out who that person is.  Make a point to say hi to them, ask questions about store picks, and generally talk whiskey with them.  Discuss recent purchases, ask for recommendations, make it clear you are not a flipper.  IMHO if your manager does not know you by name and vice versa you are drawing slim when the rare stuff comes out.

3 - Focus your buying dollars on the stores that distribute allocated items in a manner that you approve of.  Do not give your business to the ones that do not.

 

I caught the bug in Fall of 2016 when I scored a PVW15 from my local.  I hunted feverishly throughout 2017 hitting pretty much every LS in my area, getting to know 4-5 managers and ended up doing pretty well on the Limited Editions.  However,  it was exhausting, expensive, and my purchasing was greatly outpacing my consumption.   For 2018 I picked the store that had the best mix of my relationship/pricing/availability of allocated/limited bottles and shopped exclusively there.  They take great care of me and I go out of my way to return the favor.  For example, I will always volunteer to purchase the alcohol for any party or event, or pick up bottles for friends/family as I get the benefit of the dollars spent.  I am much closer to Bourbon Zen now and do not stress over allocated and limited edition releases.  The downsides are that I do not get much variety when it comes to different store picks, and it's a pretty long drive for me, but I can live with those things given the results. 

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Jazzhead

I don't pay above retail for the LE stuff, so the bottom line is I don't get the really rare ones like BTAC and Pappy.   But living in a control state (Pennsylvania),  LEs at retail sometimes DO appear on State Store shelves.   At least it's a fair situation of first come, first served.   

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