Pappy van Winkle fans camp out for chance to buy hard-to-get whi - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Pappy van Winkle fans camp out for chance to buy hard-to-get whiskey

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- It's coveted, rare, expensive and just released. On Friday, we got a look at just how far some are willing to go to buy a bottle of Pappy Van Winkle. 

They will sleep outside, call off work and spend big.

"It's like having a Van Gogh -- like having a piece of art," said customer Andrew Smither.

Joey Rosario admits he stayed home from work.

"I did," Rosario said. "I'm sorry boss, but I did."

"Just to get a bottle of pappy," Smither said.

Kentucky's bourbon craze is reaching its fevered pitch.  The line outside the Middletown Liquor Barn is for Saturday morning's release of Pappy Van Winkle. Rosario has been there since Thursday night. 

"The pappy is like, if you have one, you can show it in your collection saying, 'Hey, this is my gold right here!' and people envy that," Rosario said. 

Until the release here at Liquor Barn, the bottles stay under lock and key. In fact, six managers had to block of part of the store. It's $50 to $250 a bottle depending on the age. 

So what's all the fuss?

"That's what people like about it -- because it's very smooth and very sweet," said bourbon expert Paul Meyer.

Meyer says this latest supply of Pappy Van Winkle will be even harder to get than normal. People don't just covet and drink it, they resell it for thousands of dollars online. And as the brand's popularity explodes around the world, more people are fighting over fewer bottles. 

"From what I understand, the supply is 40 to 60 percent less than what it was last year," Meyer said.

There was a large crowd last year when Party Mart hosted a lottery for Pappy Van Winkle. The company plans to do it again Nov. 22.

Smaller liquor stores that started receiving shipments this week say they're already gone. That's why guys like Smither and Rosario are in it for the long haul. 

"You know it's like a once in a lifetime experience and a story I will tell one day," Smither said.

Even if that means getting your mom to hold your place in line. 

"If it's important to my son and he asks me and I'm available to do it, I'll do it," said Donna Koch. "Mother of the year -- you tell my son that!"

Pappy Van Winkle will be released at Liquor Barn at 9 a.m Saturday.

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