LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- The makers of Pappy Van Winkle Bourbon are taking aim at counterfeiters.

The popular distillery claims it provided evidence which helped lead to a man in New York pleading guilty for his sale of two bottles of fake Van Winkle bourbon. 

Van Winkle says its partner, Buffalo Trace Distillery, has spent over a half-million dollars in the past year fighting bourbon counterfeiters online. Buffalo Trace officials say one of the way scammers rip off customers is to refill an empty popular bourbon bottle with other liquids.

Other scammers print fake labels to put on bottles.

"Sadly, the Van Winkle bourbons are the latest victim of counterfeiting where innocent consumers are duped," said Mark Brown, president and chief executive officer of Buffalo Trace Distillery.

Brown warns consumers not to try to get a good deal online or from individuals. 

"Avoid buying any bourbon or whiskey, especially the highly sought after ones, from anyone in the secondary market, which includes online private sellers, or in these social media groups that claim to offer genuine products," Brown said. "The only legal and reputable source you should be buying from is a licensed retailer.”

If you suspect you bought a fake bottle of whiskey, call your local police department and/or the state’s Attorney General, or the state's Alcohol and Beverage Control Board


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