It’s usually about this time of year when Pappy Van Winkle starts trending. The annual allotment tends to make its way to bar shelves and charity auctions in late fall, creating an environment full of rabid bourbon fanatics who stalk delivery trucks and pay top dollar for a bottle of liquid Pappy gold.
This past Saturday, Oct. 15, NBC News published a story on the madness — titled “The Bourbon So Exclusive That Even Billionaires Can’t Buy It” — that covers many of the facts Kentuckians already know. People are crazy about Pappy and go to great lengths to get it. There are counterfeit bottles online. The extreme limited supply is not a marketing ploy — the distillery is simply trying to catch up to demand, and that’s hard when you have to age something 15, 20 or 23 years. Also, the longer you age a barrel of bourbon, the less bourbon you get out of it (angel’s share).
Writer Mickey Lyons talked with Louisvillian and bourbon historian Michael Veach in the piece, as well as Preston Van Winkle, the brand’s marketing manager. Another familiar name — Jeremy Johnson, owner of Meta — appeared in the story as one of the naysayers of the craze. As you recall, Johnson’s bar serves up Pappy Jell-O shots every time they get a bottle.
“It’s important that we respect what they’ve built — but it’s okay to hate what they’ve become,” Johnson said in the article.
Lyons ended the piece by saying the next allotment should be out in late October. So let the craze begin …