From time to time, I’ll scan through Craigslist ads to see if I can stumble across any old, unique, or inexpensive bourbons. It began, naively, as a hopeful scavenger hunt. I expected to cunningly circumvent high prices and tedious search processes by scooping up some garage-sale type finds on the internet. Guess how many bottles I’ve added to my collection. I’ll give you a second.
Zero. That’s right. Come to find out, while I might have been ahead of the bourbon curve in my circle of friends, this spirit was heavily sought out long before I went looking. But I haven’t completely dismissed bourbon searches on Craigslist, just adjusted my end game.
Now, I will look around the country at the ridiculous prices that sellers have attached to higher quality bourbons, and even ones that aren’t even that difficult to find. The most obvious example of price-gouging, not coincidentally, happens with perhaps the most-sought out bourbon in the country – Pappy Van Winkle.
Look, PVW is tremendous. I have four bottles that I would still hesitate to pour even if I was the sole winner of last week’s $600 million dollar lottery. As you look through some of these current ads, keep in mind the following quasi-MSRPs.
Van Winkle 12yr: ~$60
Pappy Van Winkle 15yr: ~$90
Pappy Van Winkle 20yr: ~$125
Pappy Van Winkle 23yr: ~$250
Granted, these prices were about $15-50 cheaper in 2011 compared to 2012, but we’ll go off the most recent prices.
First up, and probably the most obnoxious, an ad offering Pappy Van Winkle for $1700. I click to see how many bottles of 23yr this consists of.
I didn’t email. Next up, a bottle of Van Winkle 12yr, typically a great ‘starter’ Van Winkle because of its affordability.
DRINK JIM BEAM YOU PEASANT!
Let’s look on the West Coast. Los Angeles didn’t let me down. Another bottle of Pappy Van Winkle, this time a 15yr.
Let’s go to a more conservative area – Texas. This Dallas ad offers up a bottle of Pappy Van Winkle 20yr.
Price tags are bigger in Texas.
I’m done with Pappy dealers. This could go on for a while. Instead, I’ll just show you one other ad. This is for Old Forester Birthday Bourbon. A very good product, but one you can buy on the shelf for $49.99.
Why overpay for Pappy when you can pay Pappy prices for Old Forester?
Buying bourbon online can be a good way to get your hands on some hard-to-find labels, but Craigslist is not the answer right now. Don’t be that guy.