Pappy bottles

Let’s go Krogering: Pappy lottery starts Friday!

Pappy bottles
Hopefully gettin’ lucky in Kentucky! | Courtesy of Sazerac

Kentucky Kroger stores are about to get busy — as if they’re not busy enough this time of year. It’s time for the annual Pappy Van Winkle lottery, where thirsty bourbon hunters and gatherers descend upon every Kroger store within a 50-mile radius to enter their name for a random drawing of five varieties of the highly sought-after bourbon.

I’m included in this badass bombastic bourbon bunch, and lucky for us, we’ve got some extra time to make it to as many stores as we can this year. Entries will be accepted at all participating Kroger liquor stores between Friday, Dec. 17, and Tuesday, Dec. 21.

If you’ve never participated, here’s a quick rundown. You walk into the Kroger liquor store, fill out a slip of paper with your name and phone number, and then do a “Gettin’ Lucky in Kentucky” rain dance while dropping the slip into the large bin filled with everyone else’s bourbon wet dreams.

If your name is selected Wednesday morning when they draw winners, you will win the chance to buy one of these five Pappy brands:

  • Old Rip Van Winkle Bourbon 10 Year Old: $69.99
  • Old Rip Van Winkle Special Reserve Bourbon 12 Year Old: $79.99
  • Pappy Van Winkle’s Family Reserve Bourbon 15 Year Old: $119.99
  • Pappy Van Winkle’s Family Reserve Bourbon 20 Year Old: $199.99
  • Pappy Van Winkle’s Family Reserve Bourbon 23 Year Old: $299.99 

It’s as simple as that. And let’s say you win but don’t feel like spending that much money on bourbon. In that case, you message your favorite Bar Belle (shavens76@gmail.com) and she will happily purchase the bottle from you, plus $20 extra for your troubles. It’s the least I can do.

Each store will have at leasts six bottles up for grabs, and you can only enter once per store (although I’m not sure that’s once, period, or once per day).

Here’s the list of participating Kroger stores in Kentucky, starting with the Louisville area. Gather up a group and go hit all the nearby Krogers while singing carols and sippin’ eggnog. Good luck!

Louisville Area Kroger Wine & Spirits Shops:
  • 2219 Holiday Manor Center
  • 2200 Brownsboro Road
  • 9812 Linn Station Road
  • 2440 Bardstown Road
  • 3039 Breckenridge Lane
  • 5533 New Cut Road
  • 12501 Shelbyville Road
  • 6900 Bardstown Road
  • 5001 Mud Lane
  • 4501 Outer Loop
  • 9080 Taylorsville Road
  • 291 N. Hubbards Lane
  • 9440 Brownsboro Road
  • 12611 Taylorsville Road
  • 3165 S. Second St.
  • 1265 Goss Ave.
  • 9501 Westport Road
  • 10645 Dixie Highway
  • 4915A Dixie Highway
  • 2034 S. Highway 53 (La Grange)
  • 5929 Timber Ridge Dr. (Prospect)
  • 185 Adam Shepherd Parkway (Shepherdsville)
  • 234 Eastbrook Pointe Drive (Mt. Washington)
Lexington Area Kroger Wine & Spirits Shops:
  • 4101 Tates Creek Centre Drive
  • 150 W. Lowry Lane, Suite 190
  • 1808 Alexandria Drive
  • 3650 Boston Road
  • 3165 Majestic Drive
  • 4750 Hartland Parkway
  • 1060 Chinoe Road
  • 3175 Beaumont Centre Circle
  • 1600 Leestown Road
  • 704 E. Euclid Ave.
  • 106 Marketplace Circle (Georgetown)
  • 212 Kroger Way (Versailles)
Other Kentucky Kroger Wine & Spirits Shops:
  • 102 E. John Rowan Blvd. (Bardstown)
  • 568 Bypass Road (Brandenburg)
  • 200 Skywatch Drive (Danville)
  • 111 Towne Drive (Elizabethtown)
  • 3040 Dolphin Drive (Elizabethtown)
  • 1309 U.S. Highway 127 S. (Frankfort)
  • 302 Brighton Park Blvd. (Frankfort)
  • 810 Indian Mound Drive (Mt. Sterling)
  • 515 N 12th St. (Middlesboro)
  • 967 S. Main St. (Nicholasville)
  • 1650 Starlight Drive (Owensboro)
  • 2630 Frederica St. (Owensboro)
  • 890 Richmond Plaza (Richmond)
  • 181 S. Highway 127 (Russell Springs)
  • 311 Boone Station Road (Shelbyville)
  • 50 Stonegate Center (Somerset)
  • 1661 Bypass Highway 1958 (Winchester)
Pappy Van Winkle bottle lineup

Here come the 2020 Van Winkles!

Good news: There will be more Old Rip Van Winkle Rye this year! Bad news: There will be less 20- and 23-year-old Pappys.

Yes, this year has been one we’d all like to forget. But the show must go on, and Pappy will be released in November, like in years past.

Everyone wants a Pappy in their collection, and I’m no different. (Quick fact: You should only refer to the Van Winkles as a “Pappy” if you’re talking about 15, 20 or 23 Year. All the others are simply called “Van Winkles.”)

And yes, you’re going to pay over asking price just about anywhere you go, if you’re even lucky enough to find one on a shelf. According to the news release that went out this morning, here are the suggested retail prices:

  • $69.99 — Old Rip Van Winkle Handmade Bourbon 10 Year Old 107 proof
  • $79.99 — Old Rip Van Winkle Special Reserve Bourbon 12 Year Old 
  • $119.99 — Old Rip Van Winkle Family Reserve Rye 13 Year Old 
  • $119.99 — Pappy Van Winkle’s Family Reserve Bourbon 15 Year Old
  • $199.99 — Pappy Van Winkle’s Family Reserve Bourbon 20 Year Old
  • $299.99 — Pappy Van Winkle’s Family Reserve Bourbon 23 Year Old
Pappy Van Winkle bottle lineup
Pappy fever!

But don’t blame producer Buffalo Trace Distillery or the Van Winkles for the crazy secondary prices.

“Unfortunately even though we suggest what we believe to be a very low and fair MSRP, we cannot control the price retailers charge, and some retailers mark it up even though we and the distributors that those retailers buy from ask them not to,” said Julian Van Winkle, president of Old Rip Van Winkle Distillery, in the release. “We are committed to releasing quality whiskey at a reasonable cost and we hope retailers will honor what we suggest as a fair retail price.”

Your best bet is getting in on a lottery of some sort, so just keep your eyes peeled for those.

In the meantime, there is no cure for your Pappy fever.

Pappy Van Winkle

2019 Pappy huntin’ season begins in November!

Pappy Van Winkle

O Pappy my Pappy!

Oh happy Pappy day!

Word is out — the 2019 Pappy Van Winkle line of bourbons and whiskeys are coming soon to … well, technically liquor stores and bar shelves, but don’t ask me how to score one! Hunting season begins soon.

According to a news release that was issued Thursday morning, these Pappy products will be available in November:

  • Old Rip Van Winkle Handmade Bourbon 10 Year Old 107 proof — ($69.99)
  • Old Rip Van Winkle Special Reserve Bourbon 12 Year Old — ($79.99)
  • Old Rip Van Winkle Family Reserve Rye 13 Year Old — ($119.99)
  • Pappy Van Winkle’s Family Reserve Bourbon 15 Year Old — ($119.99)
  • Pappy Van Winkle’s Family Reserve Bourbon 20 Year Old — ($199.99)
  • Pappy Van Winkle’s Family Reserve Bourbon 23 Year Old — ($299.90)

Of course, these are the suggested prices, but you’re not likely to find them for those prices — let alone find them at all.

“Unfortunately we cannot control the price retailers charge, so some retailers mark it up beyond our MSRP, even though we ask them not to,” said Julian Van Winkle, president of Old Rip Van Winkle Distillery, in the release. “We are committed to releasing a quality product and hope retailers will honor what we suggest as a fair retail price.”

We hope so, too.

Pappy, as you probably know, is a wheated bourbon (except for the Family Reserve Rye) that is made at the Buffalo Trace Distillery. Technically, only the latter three — 15, 20 and 23 Year Olds — are called “Pappy,” so if you’re trying to impress people at a party, don’t be all loosy-goosy with the term. Just call the others Van Winkles or Old Rips.

I’ve been fortunate to sample all the Pappys over time — see, there I go using that incorrect umbrella word — and I tend to enjoy the 10, 12 and 15 the best. Now, I won’t turn down a bottle of 20 or 23 should I win one, but for drinking purposes, give me a 15 and a straw, and I’ll be set!

You’re likely not going to find these at a liquor store, so your best bet is to hope your favorite corner cocktail bar gets a set. Sip slowly. Do not add mixers. Enjoy. Buy one for me.