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Reward Offered In Kentucky Case Of Missing Bourbon

Pappy Van Winkle
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) - Authorities trying to solve a distillery heist that netted cases of prized Kentucky bourbon have monitored websites and interviewed more than 100 people since the pricey whiskey was taken weeks ago. Now a cash reward is getting mixed in.

Sheriff Pat Melton in Kentucky's Franklin County dangled a $10,000 reward on Monday for information leading to the arrest and conviction of whoever stole the hard-to-get Pappy Van Winkle bourbon and rye whiskey. The whiskey was taken from the Buffalo Trace Distillery in Frankfort in mid-October.

The heist netted 195 bottles of 20-year-old Pappy Van Winkle's Family Reserve bourbon and 27 bottles of 13-year-old Van Winkle Family Reserve Rye. The missing whiskey has a retail value of about $26,000.

"We're just trying to bring Pappy home," Melton said.

The theft has become a compelling mystery in a state that produces 95 percent of the world's bourbon and is home to more barrels of aging bourbon than people.

A crime stopper's organization put up $1,000 of the reward, Melton said, but he declined to say who else pitched in. With money aiding the effort, he predicted his detectives would crack the case.

"The net is narrowing," he said without elaborating.

Melton said nothing has been ruled out.

Detectives have been monitoring Craigslist, eBay and bourbon blogs in hopes of tracking down the pilfered spirits, Melton said, adding many other "eyes and ears" of bourbon lovers are also alert for the missing stock.

Bourbon fans want to know who took part of the limited Pappy Van Winkle stock because "that's less that they have an opportunity to get," he explained.

With all the attention given to the stolen whiskey, he said, "it's made it extremely hot to try to move or sell right now."

Pappy is among the nation's most sought-after bourbons, with limited production at Buffalo Trace for the Old Rip Van Winkle Distillery. A Buffalo Trace spokeswoman declined comment Monday, citing the ongoing investigation.

The reputation of Pappy Van Winkle bourbon and its limited supplies have given the product considerable cache.

Gordon Jackson, owner of Old Town Wine and Spirits in Louisville, said it's extremely difficult to get an allocation of Pappy and his store is called every day by those seeking the product.

"Whenever we do have it, we really never admit to having it and we kind of stash it and hope to get it to our better customers," he said.

His store periodically scores a supply and charges $110 per bottle for the 20-year-old Pappy bourbon.

"The whiskey is extremely good," Jackson said. "That one has a lot of lore, a lot of mystique and it's really, really good."

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grinsoften December 04 2013 at 12:56 PM

wow.....what an old trick to make your product even more desired by fools with too much cash, and to be sure, make it a big story on all the news and media outlets.
you cannot pay for advertising this good, and the fools wanting the product will now pay even more.

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Jennifer T. December 04 2013 at 12:23 PM

Are they sure there is even any of it left?

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rwitchwoman63 December 04 2013 at 12:18 PM

What a waste of time...Really who cares!!!

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RetireeGoneWild December 04 2013 at 11:52 AM

I have two bottles, unopened, of "University Club Gold Label Scotch Whisky", a blend (May be the last of it in the world). I sent the information on it to a college in Europe that has the archives for it, but they haven't sent the information yet. One dealer said it was worth at least hundreds per bottle. It seems to be at least 50-70 years old from the research I've done. It was bottled for the "University Club of Los Angeles". I'm thinking of selling the bottles, not the contents, but when I do sell the bottles will still be sealed.

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Jennifer Malcom December 04 2013 at 11:00 AM

They try to save it for their "better" customers? I hope not only they never find it, but people stop buying it! Somoene on the inside probably took it and hid it to bring up the price. Hope it backfires!

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1 reply to Jennifer Malcom's comment
stevetrueheart December 04 2013 at 11:20 AM

Saving for "better" customers .... it is absolutely true, but the store owner should have kept silent on this. Stupid for him to draw negative attention from "other" customers.

The suggested retail price ($110) is a thing of the past. The price is substantially higher on the gray market. The juice is outstanding, many ranking it the best in the world. It is also in extremely short supply. $400-$500 per bottle on the Pappy 20 year is not uncommon. At $450, that would make the 195 bottles worth $87K+.

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tyawad7 December 04 2013 at 10:54 AM


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1 reply to tyawad7's comment
jppjpphap December 04 2013 at 12:51 PM

how much??

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tikitom December 04 2013 at 8:22 AM

A Hyped-up Story (who done it), to increase sales of this Brand for the Holiday.
Free advertising through the News Media......Marketing 101

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2 replies to tikitom's comment
stevetrueheart December 04 2013 at 11:23 AM

They do not need to increase sales. They only have a set amount of it, and it is in such high demand that it has attained "cult status". PVW 20 is the #1 rated bourbon in the world. If they could somehow turn the calendar back 20 years and make more, a lot more, they would.

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yannaro December 04 2013 at 12:19 PM

The police are involved so it's not a stunt unless the police are in on it, which is not likely. Otherwise, it's an issue of filing a false police report.

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John December 03 2013 at 10:13 PM

Hey Red, do you know how to copy and paste?

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redfldnparadise December 03 2013 at 7:48 PM

Amy, so happens I tracked down a bottle for a Christmas gift, $150, and would like to include this article. However, I cannot print it without the ads. Could you send it to me at my aol account? Go Gators btw.

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