One historic New York wine retailer faces a steep fine for alleged sales of knockoff bourbon.
Acker Merrall & Condit Co, a wine shop located on Manhattan’s Upper West Side, was recently fined $100,000 for a 2021 scandal involving reported sales of fake bourbon, according to documents from the New York State Liquor Authority.
Acker is regarded as the oldest wine shop in the United States. Opened in 1820 as a package store, the merchant has since grown into an auction platform, brick and mortar wine shop, and online retailer.
A 2021 Inside Edition investigation discovered that a $1,000 bottle of whiskey sold at Acker was counterfeit. A producer from the media platform’s team purchased a bottle of Colonel E.H. Taylor Four Grain Bourbon and consulted Buffalo Trace Distillery to authenticate it. The bottle turned out to be counterfeit, as it was missing the lot code and tubular packaging distinctive of Buffalo Trace bourbons. The liquid itself also did not have the same proof as the original E.H. Taylor Bourbon.
“We are very sure that it is counterfeit. We are sure that liquid in the bottle is not ours,” Sazerac CEO and president Mark Brown stated during Inside Edition’s 2021 video.
At a Feb. 1 full board meeting, the New York State Liquor Authority addressed five instances of Acker purchasing spirits “from an unauthorized source” between July 2020 and June 2021. In addition, the paperwork lists five instances related to bookkeeping issues.
The wine merchant agreed to a fine of $100,000, which is to be paid out within the next 20 days.