A Flood of Pappy Van Winkle is Coming

Kentucky may soon be awash in rare, expensive bourbon. The Kentucky House Committee recently passed a bill allowing individuals to sell unopened vintage bottles of whiskey to stores and restaurants.

The bill opens up the already booming bourbon market. Individuals with decades old bottles now have a legal way of cashing in that doesn’t rely on black market trading or online groups. And for the rest of us who don’t have a whiskey hoarder in the family, the bill means a new supply of aged bourbon is on the way — yes, it may even mean more Pappy.

Bourbon production is limited by design. By law, bourbon must age in new oak barrels for at least two years. Required aging limits how much can producers can make at once. Limited supply and high demand (the bourbon trend has been going on for some years now) created a bourbon market that was only more constrained as people bought up bottles for their own collection. Now those bottles in private collections are older, even more rare, and much, much more expensive.

If you need a sense of just how much bourbon could be squirreled away right now, Eric Gregory, president of the Kentucky Distiller’s Association, told WKMS public radio that there’s probably more vintage bourbon in people’s attics than anywhere else.

So just how much money can this new market of bourbon sellers look to make? It all depends on how loved the brand is and how rare the bottle is, but it wouldn’t be unheard of for a single bottle to go for more than $1,000.

If you love fine bourbon, the next couple years will be an exciting time to visit Kentucky. This new bill will bring bottles out of the woodwork, and once they’re gone, they’re gone for good.