Every year in the fall, whiskey geeks decent upon every store hunting for bottles from Buffalo Trace's Antique Collection (BTAC), Pappy van Winkle, Old Forester Birthday Bourbon, and others. It's like a zombie apocalypse. Many, if not most, of those bottles will never be opened by the original purchaser. Rather, they'll be sold on the secondary market for many times their suggested retail price. Even more folks will work every store lottery, charity auctions, or other program meant to at least attempt to fairly distribute a product in short supply relative to its demand.
All I want is to be rewarded for being a consistent customer of a store throughout the year, not just for whiskey and not just in the fall. I've found that and Dan has found that, and maybe it doesn't yield the full-on unicorn bottles but it has allowed us to buy some nice bottles all year long with little fuss and it's what made it possible for both of us to get each other favorite bottles for our own birthdays when there were none on the shelves for sale.
Why can't it be simpler? Why do whiskey enthusiasts insist on becoming the worst of the worst retail consumer for something that shouldn't be so hard to buy? Do you blame the distilleries, the retailers, or the consumers? Or, do you love the hunt and think this is the most awesome setup for a hobby ever?
In the end, I guess I don't care. I find delicious bottles all the time that don't cost an arm and a leg even if they cost more than they should.
Of course, nothing is forcing me to remain a whiskey drinker either if I don't like the system. Coffee is good. Wine is good. There is plenty to drink beyond overpriced, overhyped bourbon and rye whiskey.
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Whiskey isn't all we do.
Slow Guy on the Fast Ride
Dawn Patrol MTB
Mark Still And Dan Cavallari
Hey Mark, what do you want to drink today? That's a great question, Dan.
I'll tell you what we're drinking. We're going to drink coffee. Coffee? That's not whiskey. No, I'm
Protesting. Well, I don't know. Is it really allocation season anymore? It seems like everything's
Half the stuff we used to walk in and buy off the shelf, we got to beg and ask permission and do voodoo
dances and some kind of weird gyration to have a chance at. I'm in full protest mode. All right.
I can protest over coffee. Well, let's have, I don't know, I guess we don't clink glasses for coffee, but we're
protesting. We're protesting. Protest sip.
And we're protesting with style. This isn't just coffee.
Tell us what we're drinking. We're drinking Cortados from your very machine that you made for us just now.
Yes, and very nice glasses that could just as easily be whiskey glasses. They're super heavy. They're very
heavy. They're beautiful glasses.
Well, OK, so we're protesting allocations.
Why are we protesting allocations?
Well, I don't know. First of all, I guess the industry certainly does this is going to do what it wants.
Retailers, merchants are going to do what they want.
Whiskey geeks are going to do what they want. And I don't, whatever anybody wants to do.
But it just seems like there ought to be a better way to share that whiskey or to give geeks a chance at it.
And as much as merchants rail on the season, and look, I don't envy a whiskey store owner in the least.
For literally anything. For anything, but certainly what probably starts now in early September around George
Garvin Brown's birthday and the birthday bourbon release.
And last until everybody's convinced there's no more Pappy to be found sometime in December or January or
They're getting 100 to phone calls.
From people that never bothered to shop with them before, that all of a sudden now want to have a
bottle of whatever. They're coming in the store all day long, they're taking their staff's time, I get it.
But it just seems like the loyalty that they all profess that they want in their locally owned stores doesn't
always get rewarded.
So I want them to do whatever they think is best for their business.
But it would be nice if they figured out a way to just easily, simply turn away the people that are just there to
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get a bottle to flip, reward the people that shop there all year long.
Right. Well, to the retailer's credit, I think a lot of stores have done that. And that's exactly what all this
lottery stuff and allocation stuff is all about. But there are bad executions of it as well. And I think it's just
gotten out of control. And here's a question for you. Now,
You've been buying whiskies for a lot longer than I have.
When did you first become aware of, quote unquote, allocation season? I mean, was it always a thing?
It has been as long as I've been around, but it used to just be, and not that long. I mean, I didn't really
get into whiskey as a hobby, I guess you call it, until probably 2012 or so.
Okay. And then the season was all about just the BTAC.
Just about the Pappy. There was very little other, I mean, there was some other things that would come
in there, but I was in an allocated, not allocated, excuse me. I was in a control state back then.
And so it was a little more focused on each town in Alabama would have maybe one of the ABC stores that
was getting the BTAC stuff and the Pappy.
And there was other things in there, but they'd always break it down by table.
You get one shot at this table.
And the other tables would be things like E.H. Taylor or Stagg Jr., bottles like that, that you'd find in the store
off and on throughout the year anyway.
But it just, it wasn't everything. So what's caused, what do you think has caused all this? We did. You
and me, that's it. It's our fault. Whiskey drinkers.
Yeah. Whiskey drinkers caused, I guess, I don't know. I mean, but wait, I mean, whiskey drinkers have been
around a long time And it seems to me, within the last five years, it's gone from difficult to absurd.
Yeah, and I think that's a good point. Whiskey drinkers have been around for a long time, but this hasn't
existed at the enthusiast level for that long.
I was thinking about that, because there was somebody on Instagram that was talking about, what's your
favorite bottle under $20?
And I was like, well, there's Special Reserve. And then I didn't comment that, but that's what came to my
head, Cause that's a bottle I bought, I still have some that I paid $17 for.
Of course it's not a bottle under $20 anymore. You're lucky if it's 25 or 30, sometimes it's 50.
So I think that we did do it, the market did it.
We went from, you know, Pappy started it, I guess, with this hard to get unobtainium, let's pay anything for it
And then it just trickled down. And that's the same whiskey that trickles down to special reserve.
And if you're just the average geek, then now you chase down special reserve and it's not on the shelf
But I will contend that it was not us, you and me, because we're a different type of consumer. We open our
bottles, we drink them.
Where what's really causing this to me is the secondary market.
And the idea that you can flip a bottle and get something that's so hard to get and then turn it around and
charge twice as much for it, illegally, I might add, in most cases,
that these people are buying bottles simply to turn a profit on the secondary market.
And that, to me, is the key difference. We buy bottles and we drink them, which is what you're supposed to
do. I think so, yeah, but I've never bought a bottle of Pappy 15 or 20 or 23.
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I'd like to think I'd open it.
But certainly I think the proliferation of the market has led to a lot of it.
And it's nothing more infuriating than, first of all, crotch shots are just infuriating. But at 2:30, there's a crotch
shot of somebody with a lot B.
And then at 3:45, there's a post in a local group for 10 times the price.
That's tough. I mean, is anybody drinking the, I don't know if anybody drinks the stuff.
I'm gonna drink it if I get it. I mean, and here's, that's the thing. It's like, yeah, I want it to sit on my shelf for
like a month so I can like stare at it, you know And then i'm going to open it when you come over and we
drink Well, and we have now again, neither one of us have gotten to buy a lot of those bottles,
Partially, I don't want to sound like we we try really hard and we don't get them. I don't try.
I got a bottle of old rip van winkle 10 when I lived in alabama And the way I got it was I got to the
parking lot late saturday night after the abc store closed They aren't open on Sunday.
When they open Monday morning at 10, I was number 48 in line. I bought the old Rip 10 off the big table.
I bought a Stagg Jr., an EH Taylor, something, and one other. Oh, Elijah Craig Barrelproof.
That's what I got to buy if you're standing in line. Paid retail for all of it. And even then, and that would have
been, I don't even remember when that was, there was a dude in the parking lot with the back of his truck
open, offering everybody four and five times that.
And then it wasn't again until just 2019, I got to buy a stack.
And that bottle was open within an hour of it getting home. And I hope we'd still do that. We did it with you
in 2020. Exactly, yeah, I was gonna say. I hope we'd still do that. Yeah, I would.
Yeah, I'm human. But I'll tell you what, I wish, I always had this fantasy that I'll go into the store and
there'll be the bottle.
And then it's the, I get the show off scenario where they go, well, we'll let you buy it if you open it now. And
I'm like, hand it here.
I'm gonna open it.
I wanna taste that stuff. But it's, I get sometimes it's tough, I guess. That's an awful lot of money.
But the flippers, that's the system that we're set up for. And sometimes people get mad at the distilleries and
maybe there's something more they could do to thwart that, but they don't profit from that.
Well, let's talk though about some executions of these allocated giveaways, lotteries, whatever. I mean, there's
a lot of ways that brands do it.
And I can tell you that the last time I stood in line for a Bottles with you, just a couple of years ago at an
allocation event, we stood outside for what, an hour and a half, two hours? Yeah, it wasn't bad.
And we got inside and neither of us walked away with one of the big high-end bottles. And I got a Booker's
out of it. I can't remember what you got. I don't either. Tell us a lot about.
Yeah, it was not worth standing out in line for.
I'm going to let you finish, but I just, I won't do the line anymore. No, I'm done with lines too. But I
would say that, you know, and we talked about this just
this morning was there's a couple of executions of how you reward loyal customers that work well. Yeah.
And we're starting to see more stores come to grips with that. And I don't
know if that's a function of COVID. Like they don't want people coming in and just standing around. But you
know, the one that I told you I like is, you know, basically there's a store, every three months I'm eligible for
an allocated bottle as long as I've made three purchases. I don't have to wait in any lines. I just walk in, I look
at the list and I say,
I want that one or I don't want that one. What bothers me about that is now there's silly bottles on that list.
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That's what I was going to say. That's nice, but you say allocated. The first thing you think is Pappy B-Tac.
Right. And you're not getting any of that. That's different. So So it's annoying that some of the bottles that
you have a chance at in that system are,
even on that list.
But it is nice that they're trying to reward something. In that line you and I stood in at that store,
basically all we had to do was be on their list and give, what's it like, 20 bucks to something charity.
So that wasn't the worst way to do that.
But even that doesn't reward, because it's not like you would go to that store more often than I would. I only
join that list for that chance. That's not rewarding their good customers.
In the store that locally that I go to most often, their system does.
And there aren't any really hard rules to it. They looked in, all these stores know who's buying what.
They looked in and said, these people support our store. And I like to think and hope that they look more than
just the whiskey aisle, because that's where we buy most everything.
We buy our wine, most of our beer, almost probably 85 or 90% of our whiskey comes from that store.
So hopefully they looked in there and saw the support for the store, not the support for a category. And I hope
that, because there's another store that I used to go to a fair amount.
And a couple of years ago, they were so frustrated with the people walking in the store, they gave all the
pappy away to a charity and said, just here, just do something with it.
And I thought, well, that's nice, but what about me? We go every Sunday.
We buy steaks there. We buy extra stuff for dinner. We used to buy wine. We used to buy a fair amount
What about me?
Yeah, and I feel like there's a little bit of a middle finger attitude for not all retailers, but some retailers, you
know, towards their customers saying, oh, this guy's coming in again.
Well, yeah, but that guy also probably buys a ton of things. And if they couldn't track that,
but that same store has a lovely referral rewards program, which I do appreciate, but in the last 24 months,
they've also jacked the price of every bottle of liquor in that store.
They've put stuff behind glass that has no business being behind glass, and then go, well, you have a rewards
It's like, yeah, but I'm paying, we're just trading money. It's still my money.
So that's frustrating. There is another way. I mean, and this comes with its own little sticking point.
And for a lot of people listening who are not gonna wanna do this, but the way I've gotten to taste Pappy 15
or whatever was because I'm loyal to a store and I developed a relationship with the owners.
And well, first of all, they're lovely people and I enjoy their company. And so I'm in there a lot just chatting,
but that's kind of how I got to the point where like I could call in a favor every once in a while. And that's
what I did when I got the bottle for your birthday.
And that's what I did when I got the bottle for your birthday. Exactly.
Different store. Same thing. Exactly. So you've developed that relationship, because A, you're gaining
ostensibly a bigger community, which is nice.
And B, you get access to things you wouldn't otherwise get access to. But for somebody listening who's like,
now I gotta form a relationship with a shop owner just to get an allocated bottle, yeah, I mean, it is a little
But that's not the reason.
Right. Like the reason isn't, let me go do this thing I don't wanna do to get a bottle. Right.
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That should be a byproduct of a store that brings value to you. And that's another good point because it
is a two-way street.
It's not all up to us to do stuff. I mean, local businesses for as long as there's been local businesses have said,
support local businesses. And we do, but they gotta earn it too. And I think in both cases, the store you're
talking about, the store I'm talking about, they earned it.
Yes, absolutely. They did their best to provide a good experience for a whiskey geek.
And they tried to make things fair. and that's where I'm gonna spend my money.
It's hard though, I know, because people just want those bottles and those store owners.
In my opinion, humble opinion, and again, their business, hard way to make a living, I've done it
They need to do something too to thwart that. They don't need to, if it was my store, and Whiskey Geek dude
came in in October, what you got, what's behind the counter, can I get a bottle of Pappy?
I'd turn that son of a bitch around and send him straight out, because I know he's never been in the store
Don't work with them. Well, but why is there that gatekeeping? I mean, that's the thing too. Like why, and
what other retail situation is their gatekeeping like that. I mean, if I walk into a store and I want or need
something and it's there and it's expensive, I can still buy it.
I pay more for it, but it's still there and I can buy it. That's a good question because I think the answer you get
from a lot of retailers is, well, if I just put it on the shelf that anybody buys it and my good customers get mad
Well, great, well, then what are you doing to make sure those good customers have that opportunity? And I
think in a lot of cases, nothing.
Yeah, exactly. It becomes its own thing. It's allocated bottles.
They get accumulated someplace. And then we gotta figure out how to get rid of them. In fact, one of the
stores I was talking about, the way they do it now is, I've been a great customer all year.
I spend thousands of dollars a year across every category in that store, food included.
And now my opportunity is to buy tickets. I bought the tickets.
Yeah, they're bottles. Every Sunday when I came in here, I bought the tickets in the form of steaks and
potatoes and potato chips and ice cream and whatever else we cooked that weekend,
Every you know, 48 weeks a year. Yeah, we're in there doing this. It's just getting over complicated It is and I
would I would say there's a flip side to that too, though
So, you know, I went into a store recently and I saw a bottle I wanted on the shelf and it was way overpriced I
mean it was like two or three times what I would normally pay for this bottle and I went up to the guy and
And he said, you know, he's like, are you interested in something?
I was like, well, yeah, but I'm not going to pay three times, you know, what I would normally pay.
He's like, oh man, I get people in here coming in all the time and they, they just, they just see it and they grab
it and they pay it. And so like, I'm going to let them do it.
I'm like, that's unethical. Well, that's messed up. I don't know. Is it? Yes, it is unethical.
And, and, you know, that happened again, you know, when I had that whole, my bookers saga, For those of
you listening, I went into a store and saw bookers on the shelf.
For 100 bucks. It was listed as 100 bucks. I said, I will, or I think 110, which is more than, it's still
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more than I would normally pay. And I was like, oh, okay. It's the one I want.
I'll take two of them. There was nothing about allocation. Guy took him out of the case. Sittin' on a
Sittin' on a shelf, 110 bucks was the price, the asking price. And then all of a sudden the guy's calling the
owner of the shop and I'm sitting, standing there for 10 minutes. And the only reason
I stuck around is because the guy had my ID in his hand while he's on the phone walking around the the store
and then he comes back he says oh no no these bottles are 135 or something or 140 the hell they are it's right
there for 110 that's wrong that's,
unethical I'm sorry maybe be borderline illegal yeah but I'm sorry but you know if you're putting something
on the shelf for three times retail that's price
gouging it's unethical I'm sorry but you know I don't care if it if you can get it from some guy who doesn't
know any better that sucks and I'm not gonna buy from you like you're just an unethical person like I don't
want to I don't want I'd give you my money.
I don't know. I have a harder time drawing that line, because I know how hard it is.
I just think they need to die by that sword, too.
But they don't.
And the reason they don't is because there really is somebody that's going to give them $2.50 for a bottle of
And that's ignorance on the person's part buying it.
And again, I think the owners of these stores, if they don't like it, they have an obligation to help change it.
They don't like it. Maybe that person likes it that way. They like sticking stuff on the store. That brings up a
good point too.
I can't imagine that the bottles we're talking about in the course of a year make up that bigger
percentage of the revenue of the store.
Definitely not, definitely not.
I don't know, it'd be nice if maybe we'll have somebody on that's in retail that can talk to that.
But if I think about the stores I go into, if they sold all the bottles that are overpriced in one of the stores I still
go to that I don't buy whiskey in there anymore. I still buy the food. I don't buy the whiskey anymore.
Maybe that would make a difference. But we're not talking about that many bottles and that much of a
differential over, because they're selling the bottles at mostly close to retail in these systems, these programs.
It's not that much revenue.
I think, you know, and the other thing I've spoken with some retailers, and one thing I have heard
consistently is that the margins on whiskey are not good.
The margins on wine are much, much better. And so, you know, no, it's that bottle's not going to make up for,
you know, especially if you're selling it at retail to your loyal customers or in your lottery, it's not going to
make up anything.
And, you know, to me, if you're trying to get people into the store to buy other things at higher margins, work
that into your program. I don't care.
But don't make me stand in line at the end of the year after I've spent all that money. Well, and that's why I
say, personally, I want some credit for the other shopping.
Because if I spend whatever, if I spend $1,000 in the main store I go to, yeah, $700 of it, $600 of it's going to
be whiskey. But it's not all the special bottles. I'm buying my Wild Turkey 101 handles there.
It's not all whiskey at all.
A lot of that's beer and wine, because we have beer and wine here.
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I just want credit for that. And this particular store, I believe they've done that. I don't have to worry
throughout the year or meet those criteria you talked about.
There's just a bunch of whiskey there. That's not the BTAC stuff. It's not that level of allocated, but it's
the E.H. Taylor's and it's the old Fitzgerald and it's that stuff.
And every month or two, I just get an email that says, here's the list. And we all email.
I don't even know how many people are in that program. But you email back your top five in order, and based
on who emails at the right time, that's what you get. I like that.
I do too. And I think this whole conversation, all I'm thinking about is, OK, who benefits from this nonsense?
Who benefits from it? Who's making money based on allocations and all this? and the only thing I can think
Is the distillery. Oh, no. Well, because it's not even, I don't even think it's a monetary thing. I think it's a cache
Sure, there's certainly, the distilleries are benefiting from the fury around whiskey in general, for sure.
Most of them have, most of the big ones haven't chased the price part. Some of them do. I mean, even one of
our favorite, Wild Turkey, they just came out with that single Rick house release at $250.
That's a cash grab of a bit there. But you know, Buffalo Trace, Sazerac has been historically famous for
not changing those prices. The BTAC bottles have barely gone up over the last whatever five or six years.
Yeah, but I think it's the retailers that push pricing. It's the flippers. That's who's making money on it. Right.
I think I don't know what I know. Yeah, I just can't quite put my finger on who is benefiting from all of this.
I'm certainly not either. Well, I say that because of the way this, my favorite store does it. I feel like I have
been, if this has been the first full year of that program and I've bought, I won't be able to remember them all,
but, and that's an amazing thing.
I can't remember all the nice bottles, but I've gotten Weller 12, I've gotten old Fitzgerald and the decanter, the
bottle and bond. I've gotten a Rockhill Farms, I've gotten a handful of really nice bottles. And we've opened.
And we open. Almost all of them. We have or we will or whatever. But the point is I didn't have to do
anything other than be a good customer. And I know.
It's not pure dollars to them because that store is in Boulder, Colorado. Yeah.
I do not have a bank account. Yeah. That can compete with Boulder, Colorado locals. So I know there's
people that walk in and buy a thousand dollars with a Scotch every weekend. I'm not that person. Right.
So I think they see that, well, that person maybe doesn't buy any cheese from their cheese section and doesn't
buy any beer and I buy across the store.
So I appreciate that and it's made it easier, but I'm not again an old rip 10 and the George T Stagg. That's it
Mm-hmm. I've never owned a bottle of Pappy. I've never owned a William LaRue Weller. Nope.
I've sipped on a few of them, but I've never owned anything except the George T Stagg which I got
because I just got lucky because I was the number two pick in a lottery Like that was the only reason I got
our lotteries legal anyway Dude, do you want to talk about laws?
We're kind of living a little bit still in the Wild West here. Well, your dad's coming to town this coming week.
He is, yeah.
And I believe he has a lawyery after his name. He does. It actually is lawyery. Lawry? Lawyerry. It's a
Maybe he can explain to us how a store can just decide to have a lottery, because I thought there were rules
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Well, but that's where, again, I mean, federal law or state law, I mean, things I think can vary from state to
So I don't know what the, did that sound like I knew what I was talking about?
It did, good, good. It did, I was expecting an answer at this point. Yeah. Well, we can't do anything about that.
Yeah. I mean, I don't know what the laws are, but the fact of the matter is I think lotteries are actually used to
get around the sticky regulations.
Let's go back to your question. So why does that have to be complicated at all?
If a store's procedure is truck pulls up.
Things come off the truck, they're received in the inventory, they go on the shelves, they get sold.
Why would whiskey, regardless of its status, be any different?
I can't imagine that being workable for the store, because people would just be milling around all day long,
clogging the store up, causing problems, waiting for that to happen.
So I don't, that's a lovely thought, but would I even want that?
I don't want to go hang out at the store all day long. No, but I mean, you don't also have to put things out the
second it comes off the truck. I mean, you could put something out. But now we're back into a system.
No, not when do you put it out? Well, as a shop owner, I put it out whenever the hell I feel like it.
Tuesday morning. I'll throw out a bottle today. See what see what happens. OK, so every Tuesday, here
comes not every Tuesday.
Well, great. But they're in the shop. Right. Yeah. But they're going to buy something. No, maybe, maybe like
maybe like five percent of them buy something. So Tuesday, 11 o'clock, three bottles of stag, a William
LeRue Weller and a Pappy 15 hit the shelf.
One geek happens to be there, phone comes out of the pocket, bang in the groups, 35 people rush the store,
and it's a mess, and it's a madhouse, and now they're mad because it's not there, and the store owner doesn't
know what to do, and then next Tuesday, he must put it out every Tuesday, and they're back Tuesday, he
doesn't put out, can you just not imagine what a mess that would be?
And that's probably how we got here. But that's, okay, that to me is a false narrative.
There is not, I mean, if I'm a shop owner, what am I doing, first of all? I'm standing there all day long,
hoping somebody comes in and buys stuff.
And then every Tuesday, somebody comes in and they- But they only want that one thing. They're not gonna
buy anything. That's my point. Maybe they will, maybe they won't.
They won't. But they know that this is a shop where they might be able to get something. So then they start
Well, eventually they're gonna be there and be like, oh, you know what, while I'm here, I need some
whatever. They don't though. They're doing that at 20 stores.
Yeah, maybe. You've moved, you left Facebook and don't see these groups anymore. Yeah. Every, who's got
the call from Total?
Who's got the call from here? Let's go here.
This is where they do, which lottery? They're just all over the place and they have, they, I don't mean it's a
It's our group, right? I don't, I'm not trying to separate. But the budgets, the amount of money that these folks
are willing to spend on it, they're at all these stores.
They're working every angle. But I have a little more sympathy or empathy for the retailer than I think you
do. But from a retailer perspective, I don't care what's happening on the Facebook group. I care about moving
the product, right?
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So I don't care if I put out a bottle of George T. Stagg and the groups know about it and they come in and buy
it, that's a win for me.
I sold a bottle, you know?
And there's just as much choice, there's just as much chance that I'm some Joe Schmo who happens to
be in there buying some maraschino cherries and a George T. Stagg show goes on the shelf and I go, oh, I'll
take that while I'm here.
I mean, who cares? As a retailer, if it's my store, I care because I want to build a long-term business and part
of that long-term business is customers that are repeat business and some of those are craft beer buyers.
I need to create that environment. Some of them are whiskey buyers.
And so for me in order to build a long-term business I want to reward the people that support my business
across the board second Those people aren't going to buy anything else. They are the worst of the worst,
Retail consumers and so all you get is that asshole in your store that will only buy that but we'll shit talk you.
For every other reason because they couldn't but why do I care as a retailer?
Because you have resources that are finite. But so listen, listen, listen. I'm telling you, you asked me a
question, I'm gonna answer it, stop talking.
You care because you have finite resources.
You have six employees in a small store and they're gonna spend three hours a day talking to people about
stuff they can't sell them, they can't buy, they aren't gonna give them and they're not gonna quit coming,
they're like zombies.
It's like the whiskey zombie apocalypse.
That's why you care. Here's another way to think of that. I get, I'm a retailer, I get a bottle of George T. Stagg
and whatever, something else, another allocated bottle.
What's stopping me from putting one on the shelf and putting one under the counter and calling my loyal
customers and saying, hey, I got this bottle, I put one on the shelf and there's one here waiting for you.
Nothing's gonna stop you.
In fact, that's how, that's kinda how I got.
The bottle of 2019 Stagg. I walked in the store and I forget the guy's name. Nice guy.
He goes, what you hunting? I said, yeah, I'm just, you know, I was grabbing some stakes for, and I was kind
of hoping to see what he goes, I got a bottle of Stag, hang on a minute. He's seen me in there all the time.
It paid off that day.
I just, what I'm saying is you can't really control, you know, the good customers versus the bad customers.
In retail, like you get both, you're always gonna get both. there's always going to be the guy that's just out for
the allocated bottle. You can't run your business based on that.
No, but you also don't have to encourage it. But I see, I think that's a fair, that's a fair characterization. It's
never the perfect customer. Right.
But it is an amazing resource train and having owned a retail business at one point and knowing that one
thing that detracts from, you know, the one full-time person and that part-time person throws the whole day
It's hard sometimes to figure that out. And I do think that, I do wish you could just put stuff on the
shelf. I just don't think that's workable for most of them.
But I also think about it in terms of other product. Like you think about, okay, I need a cake, but I want this
certain type of really nice chocolate for my cake.
I'm gonna call around and be like, hey, do you have this chocolate?
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And they're gonna be like, no, I don't have that chocolate. I'm gonna call somebody else and be like, hey, do
you have that chocolate? Yeah, we have it, but it's like really hard to get. So we have to upcharge. Okay, cool.
Do it. I need that cake.
Well, yeah, but I think the difference is that cake doesn't have, hundreds of people aren't trying to make that
cake every day.
Maybe they are. And they aren't calling in. I don't know the cake world. What if there's this weird allocated
cake world? We don't know anything about it.
We should be doing cake podcasts. There's too many whiskey podcasts already. Welcome to the practical
It's hard. I don't really pretend to know the answer. I know the way I wish it worked.
The way I wish it worked is probably closer to what, I just wish it was a shelf. If I owned the store though,
and this is probably the closest I can be to being real, because I did try and own a retail business.
It was a tremendous struggle. I've worked in retail a lot.
I think if it was me right now, and I've seen a store in Mississippi that had this signup, and it listed the
top popular, don't ask us.
We don't have any. I think that's the approach I take.
I just, it never hit the shelf.
I'd never talk about it. Any call would say, we don't get any of that. Stop calling.
There'd be signs up, there'd be a thing on our way, don't call me.
And I just, I don't know what I'd do. Maybe I'd do charity, maybe I'd do something, but, or maybe I just look
in the system and say, these top hundred people spent the money, let me let them buy these bottles.
But it's just, I cannot explain to you.
The drain it is. Yeah, I'm sure it is. I'm sure it is. But also think about it from, in that sense, think about
it from the consumer perspective. I come in, I've never been in your shop before, and I see this immediate
Don't ask us for this. I'm gonna turn around and get the hell out of there. But you know exactly what it is.
No, but if I don't, what if I don't? Well, what if I'm some guy that's coming in to buy Fireball, right?
Or, you know, like, and I see this list that says, don't ask me for this, blah, blah, blah. Well, the thing is, I
don't have to sell Fireball if I don't care about allocated whiskeys.
That's another interesting thing from the amount of crap that retailers are not forced, because they don't have
to do it, but they are coerced into buying,
under the promise of the guys of getting more of this highly allocated whiskey.
Talk about something's unethical. That's gotta be unethical. You gotta buy a bunch of Wheatley vodka and a
bunch of Fireball just to get two of these bottles.
And I remember a couple of years back, You'll remember this because I complained about it for quite a while.
I had found a new little store, met the owner, doing all the things, buying the beer, buying the wine, spending
the money, showing up every week.
And at the end of the year, he got one bottle, tiny little store, one bottle of old Rip 10, gave me a call.
Mark, I got this bottle, thought of you.
I went, Hey, this is working out. I've now 18 months. He said, I'm looking for the highest bidder.
I said, well, I can be anybody's highest bidder any fucking day of the week.
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Go yourself and hung the phone up. I think you can say go fuck yourself because you just said fuck
like two seconds before that.
Yeah. Go fuck yourself.
Actually, I have hesitate. I'm not sure I actually said that. It was more, it was dramatic. I said
something to the effect.
I definitely said I can be anybody's highest bidder because I can.
I don't need you to pay $800 for a bottle. And back then it wasn't even that much. It was $400 for a bottle all
That really pissed me off. And I didn't go in for a long time. Mm-hmm.
Actually, it was a long... He called me before I went back in. Yeah. But that's just...
So this guy... And I did the numbers, right? And this is just this little store. This was many years ago. I spent
$2,200 in that tiny little store.
I stepped to the register, I think it was 36 times in the year.
And the average money spent was $65. Mm-hmm.
And he turned that away for an extra $200, $300 worth of profit.
Yep. That's just bad business. It is. It's bad business. Bad business. You want people to come into your
shop. You want people to keep coming back.
People want to be treated with respect. And be rewarded for being loyal. And actually, the reason, one
of the reasons I kept going to that store, that's where the Kentucky Al Iraq came from.
Because he had done exactly what you wanted to do. do. He had, it was funny because he needed to buy a
bunch of vodka.
And the rep told him he'd sell him an odd amount of whatever it was, maybe it was vodka, whatever he
wanted. If he took these three bottles of Kentucky Owl off his hands.
I'll tell you what, as a parting message, there is always a good bottle on the shelf. Yes. Back to why we
started this in the first place.
You don't have to chase the bottle.
Though our experience is limited and though some of those allocated bottles are quite tasty, I still
maintain that bottles you can buy any day of the week on a shelf in almost any liquor store,
are 80 to 90 percent as good, in some cases better than those bottles. And I'll cite old RIP Van Winkle 10 for
that. It's really good. I don't think it's any better than an OWA.
I think I drink any number of Wild Turkey products as often as I drink that.
Those bottles still exist. You don't have to stand in line to enjoy whiskey, even at the enthusiast level. I would
call us enthusiasts. We enjoy it. We don't stand in line
and pay ridiculous prices for those bottles. And I would go a step further and say you're probably doing the
whiskey world a service by not standing in those lines. Just stop. Some people like the It's camaraderie and
it's fun and I get that.
But it's biting yourself in the butt.
It really is. Not for everybody. I'm never gonna stand in a line where I gotta need, long enough that I need a
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I guess. I don't know, man. I don't have the answers and I certainly don't fault anybody for doing what
they wanna do. It does, some of the situations we talked about do feel like they border on unethical behavior.
But I guess as a retaily kind of person a little more empathy than most. If that's what they got to do, I
guess that's what they got to do. Sure.
It just doesn't seem like it's worth it for anybody. It really doesn't. It just seems like more trouble than it's
worth for everybody.
Yeah. Let's go find us a retailer to talk to and find out what their perspective is. That's a fine idea. We know a
few, don't we? Yeah.
Let's get some more coffee, because how long does the strike continue? Well, at least through the next cup of
coffee. Well, I think this has been interesting. It's good. If for nothing else, just a vent a little bit. Yeah,
absolutely. Thanks for the vent. Well, uh.
I don't know what else. What else is going on? Socials? Yeah, you should all follow us on the practical still,
at the practical still on Instagram.
We post lots of silly things and it's always worthwhile. And let us know if we're on the right track
because by the time you hear this, you would have probably listened to the interview at Jess Graber, that was
Yep. Who else would you like us to talk to? Yeah, and join us on Fridays. Every single Friday, 2.30 MST, we
do Friday Sips Live and you can chime in and tell us how wrong we are about things.
Yeah, that happens a lot. Yeah, it does. But we do have a lot of fun. Yeah. And we have a good little
core group that shows up and drinks with us.
Yep. Because you're not working on Friday. No, who is, really? One of the folks that shows up is that it works
in an ER.
Yeah. And he still finds time to show up. Yeah, I don't think he's drinking, though. No, probably not. Yeah,
no, join us for our live stream. Go to YouTube.
We're at The Practical Still. You can go to thepracticalstill.com. And you can obviously find us on Instagram
at The Practical Still. Please do reach out, tell us what you think.
And if you found a system that actually works for allocated bottles and does not drive you crazy, we'd like to
hear that too. We would, we'd like to hear where that is, what works, what doesn't.
And if you have great ideas, maybe, maybe we've had distilleries hear us and come to us and teach us things.
Maybe somebody listening has a better idea for distributing these whiskeys that makes everybody else happy.
Yeah, make me a cortado. I'll make you another cortado. Cheers Dan.