October 16, 2013 – Police in Frankfort, Kentucky are investigating the theft of approximately 65 cases of Pappy Van Winkle’s Family Reserve whiskies from inside a secure warehouse at the Buffalo Trace Distillery complex.
The Louisville Courier-Journal reports the theft was reported to Franklin County Sheriff’s Department deputies Tuesday, and is believed to have taken place over several months. Sheriff Pat Melton told the Courier-Journal that roughly 56 cases of Pappy Van Winkle’s Family Reserve 20-year-old Bourbon worth about $25,300 are missing, along with nine cases of Pappy Van Winkle’s Family Reserve 13-year-old Rye Whiskey worth about $675. The whiskies were being stockpiled for the annual release of Pappy Van Winkle whiskies each fall.
Pappy Van Winkle Bourbons are among the rarest on the market, with only about 7,000 cases available each year. “Pappy” has developed a cult following, with bottles often being sold on the “secondary market” for hundreds more than their list price. The whiskey is distilled, matured, and bottled at Buffalo Trace for the Van Winkle family, which owns the Old Rip Van Winkle and Pappy Van Winkle brands. “Pappy” is named for Julian “Pappy” Van Winkle Sr., who founded the Stitzel-Weller distillery in Louisville in 1935 after merging the wholesale operations of W.L. Weller & Sons with the Stitzel family’s distilling operations.
According to the Courier-Journal, Buffalo Trace and Van Winkle family members have not returned requests for comment on the theft.
This story will be updated as more details become available.