MEMO: There's a Bourbon Shortage, Stock Up
It pains me to have to type that there may actually be a bourbon shortage, but we’ll get through this together. The most important question to ask ourselves: Is this news real or bullshit?
It’s hard to tell. If we’re going off the slight panic of one company, then yes. After reporting on “The Great Bourbon Shortage” last week, Business Insider followed up and spoke to a representative at Buffalo Trace Distillery in Kentucky who confirmed:
“Yes, I can assure you the bourbon shortage is VERY real, not a ploy at all. Our intent was never to get people worked up, or to start hoarding it, we did it out of a very genuine desire to let people know this was on the horizon.”
Well, actually, that sort of sounds like a ploy. According to BI, the company is mum about sales figures to back it up, but there’s no need for us regular bourbon enthusiasts to freak out. This problem primarily afflicts the older whiskeys and not “more popular, broadly available stuff”:
The whiskies that Buffalo Trace produces range from 4 years of ageing to 23 years.
The shortage, according to the company, is coming from the ageing process: demand is a lot higher than they expected when they decided how many barrels to age 8, 10, 15, or 20 years ago.
This is classic “reverse ageism.” Spirits writer Robert Haynes-Peterson, who’s frequently drunk and so knows about these things, says:
“It’s not going to affect your everyday options – the lower level Johnny Walker or Jack Daniels or whatever. But [it] definitely affected some of the smaller stuff (Blanton’s, Boker’s, Russell’s Reserve, etc) and older stuff (6 year and over for bourbon, 15 year and over for Scotch).”
Whether or not your intoxicant of choice is affected, probably smart to clutch your bourbon bottles tight tonight just in case.
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