A Kentucky sheriff is offering a $10,000 reward for information on the theft of thousands of dollars worth of rare bourbon, which was taken back in October from the Buffalo Trace distillery.
“It’s another twist in this case, a positive twist, and it keeps the heat on,” Franklin County Sheriff Pat Melton said. “Our focus is narrowing down on some folks. I think we’re coming close (to solving the case).”
The 20-year old rye is well-known in Kentucky, as it runs about $120 a bottle and is fairly hard to come by. Authorities say the theft of 195 bottles–worth about $26,000–has put a hurt on the bourbon industry.
“It has affected the perception of distributors who say, ‘We used to allocate 20 bottles to this store, now we can only give five or six,” said Tom Fischer of BourbonBlog.com. “It’s been tough on the bourbon community.”
Authorities say they believe the theft was an inside job and have interviewed 100 people in their search for the person or persons responsible–including the principal of a Bardstown high school, who allegedly tried to sell cases of the bourbon to an Elizabethtown liquor store–but are still looking for answers. That man, Chris Pickett, is no longer considered a suspect in the case and has adamantly denied any involvement.
Pappy Van Winkle is considered to be one of the finest bourbons in the world and is highly sought after due to the company’s low production rate: about 7,000 cases a year, compared to 7 million from well-known competitors like Jim Beam.
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