Secondary Bourbon Market

The other day, I posted to Instagram about a store's grand opening in South Carolina. I showed up right at 9 a.m. hoping to find something good. As I walked in, I watched a bunch of middle aged, professional idiots clear the shelves of anything limited and everything with a good reputation. It was like Best Buy on Black Friday, but instead of fist fighting for Playstations, guys were boxing each other out for whiskey.

One guy cleared the shelf of W.L. Weller Special Reserve. Another bought every bottle of Wild Turkey Masters Keep.

Here is what really gets me, though. The dude in front of me bought a bottle of this year's Parker's Heritage Collection Malt Whiskey. The store charged him $120- a little more than MSRP, but nothing to get heartburn about.

A few days later, I was perusing Craigslist. It's Christmastime, and I was curious to see how people were exploiting the holiday craziness. ("Dad NEEDS a $75,000 bottle of Pappy!") And what's on there, but a bottle of PHC Malt for $225! Now, I can't prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the gentleman I watched buy a bottle is the nameless flipper, but I'd bet $120 that it's him. Asshole.

Plenty has been written about bourbon flippers. You can check out:

Bourbonr (on why flippers flip);

Fred Minnick (on who is to blame for ridiculous secondary market prices);

Breaking Bourbon (on why retailers should stop price gouging);

Red, White & Bourbon (on Buffalo Trace acknowledging the secondary market);

First We Feast (on the various websites that support the bourbon flipper market); and/or

Reddit (a message board discussion about "stopping flippers").

I'm not here to solve the problem- just to offer my observations. 

Here is a guy in Texas selling a bottle of Elmer T. Lee for $250. I find it occasionally for less than $40.

How about some regular old Woodford Reserve in a commemorative Derby bottle (widely, widely available across the country) for $500!?

Interested in a $79 bottle of Van Winkle Lot "B" (a.k.a. the stuff not good enough to continue aging) for $535?!

How about Weller 12 (which lost in our blind taste test to Elijah Craig 12) for $225?

But alas, there is some humanity left on the internet. I found a few good samaritans who inspired this blog post...

An autographed bottle of Wild Turkey Masters Keep for less than MSRP... 

W.L. Weller Special Reserve for MSRP, just because...

And my absolute favorite- a guy just trying to educate consumers. Good on you, bourbon brother! Thanks to the bourbon enthusiasts with integrity. There are many more of you than there are stupid flippers.