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State holds first drawings for high-end alcohol products

(Photo: Paul Nelson)

SALT LAKE CITY – It’s a first for Utah’s liquor stores.  The Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control is holding drawings for the really rare and extremely popular products.

The DABC noticed several problems when a high-end bourbon, Pappy Van Winkles, was last sold in Utah.  State officials say some people waited in line for hours, outside in the cold.  Others tried a more creative approach.

“Some collectors had set up phone trees and they would keep an eye on our product locator system,” according to DABC Spokesman Terry Wood.

Many customers were very frustrated when they tried to buy the Pappy Van Winkles because it was sold out within just a few minutes of it hitting the shelves.  Wood says that’s why they decided to hold online drawings which would allow customers the first chance to buy rare, more expensive products.

The department is scheduling three monthly drawings to start this pilot program, and if it’s successful, they’ll plan more.  Wood says the first product up for grabs will be Elmer T. Lee bourbon.  What’s coming after that?

“It depends on what these distilleries are going to ship us.  We don’t know how many bottles of Pappy Van Winkles we’re going to get in the fall until they ship us the amount they want to ship,” Wood says, adding, “We usually won’t know until close to the time of the drawing what the product is going to be.”

To register for these drawings, people need to create a profile on the DABC website.  Wood says people need to be over the age of 21, and they must live in Utah.

“We had noticed a lot of people, when Pappy Van Winkles was released, were coming from out if state because it was much cheaper here in Utah than they were selling online,” he says.

The registration process ends on July 3rd.  Wood says the first drawing will happen within the first ten days of July.