- The Old Rip Van Winkle Distillery in Kentucky makes some of the best bourbon in the world.
- Due to the popularity of the product, many sellers charge “well above our suggested retail prices”.
- In Virginia, price hikes are prohibited and a lottery determines who can buy.
According to descendants of Julian “Pappy” Van Winkle, the family’s legacy in the bourbon business is not about making as much money as possible.
Indeed, the motto of the Old Rip Van Winkle distillery in Frankfort, Kentucky reads: “We make good bourbon: profit if we can, loss if we must, but always good bourbon. .”
One of the results of this philosophy is that the company has refused to significantly increase the prices of its range of aged whiskeys, even though the brand’s popularity has grown astronomically to become one of the most popular spirits. wanted in the world.
Van Winkle’s website lists suggested prices for each variety he makes, ranging from $79.99 for his 10-year-old Rip Van Winkle to $299.99 for his ultra-rare 23-year-old Family Reserve.
But while these prices may seem high compared to most mainstream brands, they’re an absolute bargain compared to the usual retail price of Van Winkle bottles.
In most places, distributor and retail markups result in prices up to ten times higher than those recommended by distillers, and that’s if a bottle can even be found on a shelf.
Some avid collectors even turn to underground and private markets where prices can still soar.
“Unfortunately, some retailers are choosing to use this demand as a reason to raise their prices. We know they are often sold well above our suggested retail prices,” a statement from the distillery read.
Meanwhile, some state governments control the distribution of alcohol within their borders and have found creative ways to manage Van Winkle’s popularity without raising prices.
In Virginia, the answer is the state Liquor Control Authority, which holds occasional sweepstakes to allow residents to win an opportunity to purchase special bottles.
From Wednesday through Sunday, the ABC will open listings for people 21 and older with a Virginia driver’s license to enter their information for the drawing. Last year, more than 300,000 entries were registered, Axios Richmond reported.
Van Winkle selections will be a 12-year-old Special Reserve for $89.99 (966 bottles available) and a 10-year-old Rip Van Winkle for $79.99 (289 bottles available). The raffle winner then selects the store location where they will make the purchase. Additionally, 241 12-year-old bottles and 72 10-year-old bottles are available to restaurants through a raffle.
In total, Van Winkle is estimated to produce around 7,000 cases each year, totaling around 84,000 bottles. By comparison, Jim Beam produces around 84 million bottles a year.