The Old Rip Van Winkle Distillery will release bottles next month.

By Mike Pomranz
October 10, 2019
The Washington Post/Getty Images

At this point, Van Winkle bourbons—led by the always fun-to-say Pappy Van Winkle—are probably even more famous for being coveted than they are for being good. They are, of course, “very good” (at least according to the Pope!), but typically, when Pappy is discussed, it’s in the context of getting a bottle, not drinking a bottle. Speaking of which, if you want to try to get a bottle of Van Winkle bourbon this year, the brand has just announced all the details of the 2019 release.

Beginning this November, six varieties of whiskey will be sent to stores, bars, and restaurants by the Old Rip Van Winkle Distillery—which since 2002 has been a joint venture with the Buffalo Trace Distillery in Franklin County, Kentucky. In order of price, the releases will be Old Rip Van Winkle Handmade Bourbon 10 Year Old 107 Proof ($69.99), Old Rip Van Winkle Special Reserve Bourbon 12 Year Old ($79.99), Old Rip Van Winkle Family Reserve Rye 13 Year Old ($119.99), Pappy Van Winkle’s Family Reserve Bourbon 15 Year Old ($119.99), Pappy Van Winkle’s Family Reserve Bourbon 20 Year Old ($199.99), and Pappy Van Winkle’s Family Reserve Bourbon 23 Year Old ($299.90).

Buffalo Trace Distillery

But despite the brand’s manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP), the distillery warns that—as any Pappy fan already knows—you may struggle to score a bottle without being asked to throw down a lot more. “Unfortunately we cannot control the price retailers charge, so some retailers mark it up beyond our MSRP, even though we ask them not to,” Julian Van Winkle, president of the Old Rip Van Winkle Distillery, said in the announcement. “We are committed to releasing a quality product and hope retailers will honor what we suggest as a fair retail price.”

Because of this perceived unfairness in pricing, some places choose to use a lottery system to make sure everyone who’s interested has an equal chance to get their bottle. But if you plan to go the non-retail route, Buffalo Trace says be careful. “Trading and selling bourbon online is an unlicensed and illegal sale,” explains Senior Marketing Director Kris Comstock. “Purchasing bourbon online from unlicensed parties is dangerous. The product may be counterfeit and unsafe. If you are not a licensed retailer and you are selling Van Winkle products, we are prepared to take action to curtail the activity.”

The Old Rip Van Winkle Distillery is also doing its part to deter retailers from overcharging: All the MSRPs are up from last year with the price of the 23 Year Old jumping $30.

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