Bourbon fans lineup for Pappy Van Winkle raffle


by WHAS11

Posted on April 24, 2013 at 8:30 PM

Updated Thursday, Apr 25 at 12:22 AM

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11) -- When it comes to Kentucky bourbon Pappy Van Winkle has captured a rare consumer.

People will go to great lengths to get a bottle of Pappy. It's produced in very small quantities and it goes fast.

Hundreds of people on Wednesday, April 24, lined up just to get a chance at buying a bottle.

It’s uniquely Kentucky, and made by a Louisville family.  Pappy Van Winkle a once common whiskey is now a rarity.

And fans use every opportunity to get their hands on it.

Typically this bourbon is released in November but the makers say this shipment was part of a special pre-Derby release.

Still, only one in six bourbon lovers who showed up were lucky enough to take home a bottle.

In a store filled with liquor 300 bourbon enthusiasts had eyes for just one brand.

 “My husband and I are actually very big bourbon lovers and to be able to have a very elusive bottle of Pappy in our collection would be great,” Kerrie Clifford, a customer, said.

Party Mart owner Jerry Rogers says he never knows exactly when he's got a shipment of Pappy Van Winkle Bourbon coming.

But every time he gets one he makes it a huge production.

Only a small quantity is usually available. On Wednesday Pappy fans packed in hoping for the one in six chance their number would be called.

A chance that allows them to get a shot at anything from a 10 year bottle of bourbon at $36 to a $225 bottle of bourbon aged 23 years.

 “I was the last person in line doing the run across the parking lot,” Kelly Terlau, a customer said.

Pappy Van Winkle Bourbon wasn't always so hard to get.

 “I can remember when you could buy it off the shelf; that was a long time ago,” Dick Clements, a customer said.

Its founder Pappy himself once owned the legendary Stit-zel Weller Distillery in Shively. He developed the old Fitzgerald brand and worked in Louisville until he died in 1965.

 Pappy's legacy is now a Fourth generation family business with a cult following. Who say waits like this are worth it.

“It’s fun, this is a good way to do it, gives everybody a shot,” Clements said.

Julian Van Winkle, Pappy's grandson, says they have increased their production but with the aging process, there's only so fast they can go.

So it doesn't look like Pappy's is getting less rare anytime soon. He also said he thinks Pappy would be amazed to see this kid of devotion to their product.