Liquor Control Board selling $600 rye whiskey, hard-to-get bourbons in lottery
Pennsylvania residents who want a shot at some collectible hard liquor can look no further than the state Liquor Control Board's limited-release lottery coming up next week.
The first lottery of 2018 is open through 11 p.m. Saturday, offering residents a chance at three highly sought-after bourbons and $600-a-bottle straight rye whiskey, the board said on Monday.
This is the third year that the state has held the lottery as a way to sell limited-edition bottles to individuals and licensees. Drawings will be held the week of Feb. 19 and will be witnessed by an independent third party.
In all, 665 bottles will be offered for sale through the lotteries:
• Lottery One — 12 bottles (nine for individual consumers, three for licensees) of Booker's Kentucky Straight Rye Whiskey, aged for 13 years and bottled at barrel proof (136 proof). The retail price for each 750-milliliter bottle is $599.99.
• Lottery Two — 101 bottles (76 for individuals, 25 for licensees) of Four Roses Limited Edition 2017. The 2017 edition is a blend of 15-, 13- and 12-year-old bourbons bottled at a 108-proof barrel strength. The retail price for each 750-milliliter bottle is $124.99.
• Lottery Three — 120 bottles (90 for individuals, 30 for licensees) of Parker's Heritage Collection Straight Kentucky Bourbon Whiskey 11th Edition, an 11-year-old bourbon at 122 proof. The retail price for each 750-milliliter bottle is $139.99.
• Lottery Four — 432 bottles (324 for individuals, 108 for licensees) of Elmer T. Lee Straight Bourbon Whiskey. This single-barrel whiskey is bottled at 90 proof. The retail price for each 750-milliliter bottle is $37.99.
Pennsylvania residents and licensees have until 11 p.m. Saturday to opt in to one or more of the lotteries. Purchase is limited to one bottle per drawing.
The PLCB began holding limited-release lotteries in March 2016 after it encountered difficulties with offering bottles for sale online, said spokesman Shawn Kelly.
“The interest was such that it would cause our website to crash,” Kelly said.
“Because the products were in such demand nationally and even worldwide, customers from other states would look to Pennsylvania and buy bottles from Pennsylvania when it became available on our website,” he said. “Pennsylvania consumers were not getting the opportunity to buy bottles that were allocated to Pennsylvania.”
Kelly said the PLCB wanted to make the liquor available to state residents and licensees in a way that was fair and random.
“From a practical standpoint, if you're putting a product online, when do you put it online? If you put it in a store, out of more than 600 retail locations statewide, what stores do you pick?” he said. “If you put it all in Pittsburgh, customers in Philadelphia would not have the opportunity to buy it.”
Individual consumers and licensees interested in entering one or more lotteries must be registered customers at FineWineAndGoodSpirits.com , with billing information on file.
Winners can expect to be notified by the end of February.
Stephen Huba is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at 724-850-1280, firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter @shuba_trib.