Just a few years after being embroiled in a massive counterfeit wine scandal, America’s oldest wine shop, Acker Wines, has been accused by Inside Edition of selling a fake bottle of bourbon for nearly $1,000.
A producer from Inside Edition’s investigative team was sold the purportedly counterfeit Colonel E.H. Taylor Four Grain Bourbon. The bottle is produced by the celebrated Kentucky-based Buffalo Trace Distillery, and while it carries an MSRP of $70, it’s currently listed online with some retailers for as much as $3,300.
After purchasing the nearly $1,000 bottle — something that might have already roused suspicions — Inside Edition sent the bottle to Buffalo Trace’s headquarters to be authenticated, only to find out it was a fake (and a deeply flawed one, at that).
According to Buffalo Trace’s technical director John Medley, all the distillery’s products come packaged in a special tube and marked with a specific lot code. The counterfeit bottle in question was missing both. Medley also noted that the bottle’s strip stamp was placed on backward, and the alcoholic proof of the liquid didn’t match the product it was imitating.
Before purchasing, the member of Inside Edition’s team had asked the Acker Wines salesperson if the bourbon was legitimate, only to receive the reply, “Absolutely.” When Inside Edition’s correspondent Les Trent returned to confront the store with the counterfeit bottle, he was met with vague and avoidant behavior. Though Inside Edition reached out to Acker Wines for a comment, the store had not provided one by the time of publishing.
This is not Acker Wine’s first time under the microscope. The company was under fire in 2016 for being affiliated with Rudy Kurniawan, an infamous conman who posed as a premium wine dealer and moved two sizable lots of wine through Acker, both laden with fakes. The case was spotlighted in the 2016 true-crime documentary Sour Grapes.
While Acker Wines might be failing to scrutinize its own products before listing them as authentic, buyers should beware: If the deal seems too good to be true, it almost certainly is.