Kentucky Missing Bourbon to Draw $10,000 Reward

Kentucky, bourbon, $10,000 reward

Someone out there has the potential to have a very merry festive season.  A reward of $10,000 has been offered for information leading to the arrest of a thief, responsible for stealing $25,000 worth of a very sought-after and valuable Kentucky bourbon, which has been missing for several months.

Back in October around 65 cases (or 195 bottles) of the 20 year old Pappy Van Winkle bourbon were stolen from a secure storage room at Buffalo Trace Distillery in Frankfort, Ky.  The theft was thought at the time to be an inside job and to have taken place in stages, over a period of a few months.

Since then Franklin County Sheriff’s department has interviewed around 100 people but has had no success in finding either the thief or the missing and valuable bourbon.  While initially they thought they had a “person of interest”, that person has now been ruled out as a suspect in the case.

The crime has become a serious mystery in Kentucky, the state that produces around 95 percent of the world’s supply of bourbon.  Reportedly, the state is actually home to more barrels of the aging bourbon than it is to people, but the crime still need to be solved.

Thanks to an anonymous donor, who has provided $9,000 and a further $1,000 added by Bluegrass Crimestoppers, Sheriff Pat Melton of the Franklin Country Sheriff’s office says that a total of $10,000 is now being offered as a reward leading to the apprehension of the criminal or criminals, and preferably the return of the missing Kentucky bourbon.

Kentucky Missing Bourbon to Draw $10,000 Reward
Sheriff Pat Melton of the Franklin Country Sheriff’s office offering a reward.

Melton said that he is very optimistic that the criminal will now to brought to justice and that he expects the reward to make a “huge difference.”

He had said at the time of the theft that while he doesn’t drink bourbon himself, he is well aware that Pappy Van Winkle Bourbon is “the mac daddy.”

The 20 year old Pappy Van Winkle bourbon is one of the hardest to get in the country and 65 cases is a lot of bourbon.  The bourbon has a reported production of a mere 7,000 cases in a year and is aged for 20 years.

Following aging the bourbon is bottled at 90.4 proof, according to the Buffalo Trace website.  It is quoted on their website as having a “wonderfully smooth and rich profile.”

According to Melton, the bourbon retails at around $130 a bottle, but is actually worth “$300 to $400 a bottle” on a resale basis.

According to Buffalo Trace’s website, the bourbon was described by Fortune as “the ultimate cult brand,” and it was given a “99 out of 100 rating by the World Spirits Championship.”

Along with the bourbon, nine cases of  the 13-year old Van Winkle Family Reserve rye were also stolen, worth around $675.

What makes matters even more urgent is that in May this year, Buffalo Trace Distillery had warned customers that supplies might become short.  They said their supply was just not keeping pace with demand.

While they said their warehouses were filling up with new barrels, waiting for the bourbon to come to age takes the longest part of the process.  Thus to lose so much of the valuable stock is extremely difficult.

Melton did say that their “focus is narrowing” but they still need help.  He added that those with information on the theft can call the Franklin County Sheriff’s office at 502-320-3306.

So if you know anything about the theft or the criminal behind it, or even where the missing Kentucky bourbon can be found, you too could draw a $10,000 reward and end the year on a really high note.

By Anne Sewell


SF Gate

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