Why is the bourbon gone? Bourbon drinkers on the rise in County Stark
JACKSON TWP. – Consumers in Stark County are going above and beyond to find their favorite bourbons – as an increase in bourbon consumption makes it difficult to locate certain brands.
Top Shelf, now in its second year of operation, even suggests that consumers start shopping now for their favorite brands for the holidays.
“The popularity of bourbon has exploded,” Heather Febus, director of Top Shelf, said on Friday.
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Some people take the idea of shopping early at face value.
“I got there at 6 am, trying to get a bottle of Eagle Rare,” Ryan Eckert, 35, of Canton, said while waiting outside the liquor store with about 20 others. “I’m buying for freebies, some to collect or even open tonight.”
Bourbon favorites like Eagle Rare, Blanton’scant, Weller, Buffalo Trace and Colonel EH Taylor are increasingly hard to find.
Crown Royal Peach, although a flavored whiskey, is another popular and hard-to-find item, along with cognacs like Hennessy VS and imports like some brands of champagne that have been stranded in ports, waiting to be shipped to stores.
To find some of these coveted and reasonably priced spirits, Stark County consumers flocked outside liquor stores starting at 6 a.m.
On Friday morning at Top Shelf, customers were waiting in their cars, passing a notepad from vehicle to vehicle, writing their names one at a time.
The list shows who got to the store first and who will get the first hits on the whiskey and bourbon bottles coming out of the delivery truck around 9:30 am.
The camaraderie among the bourbon lovers was remarkable, each patiently waiting, unsure whether their chosen item would be part of today’s expedition,
Febus unpacks the shipment and places the rare and hard-to-find items, mainly whiskey and bourbon, behind the counter. Some bottles will have a limit of one per customer.
Aaron Casanova was also looking for a bottle of Eagle Rare along with a bottle of EH Taylor Jr. Single Barrel.
“I go out three to four times a week to different places looking for different brands, mainly for the collection and for tasting with friends,” Casanova said.
Not all locations have the same delivery day, and delivery trucks are unmarked to prevent anyone from trying to divert the product, store workers explained.
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What is the delay?
Bourbon must be aged in barrels, although there is technically no set time to be considered a bourbon.
A pure bourbon, however, must be aged in barrels for at least two years.
Glass shortages are not helping.
“There is definitely a supply and demand issue, some of that coming from the distilleries that were shut down during COVID. A big issue with bourbon is the shortage of glass, the shortage of bottles. An example is Bulleit. They are. didn’t have the bottles to put on the bourbon for a while, ”Febus said.
One of the hardest items to get in stock are Jim Beam’s 1.75 liter cans. To get the larger sizes in stock, Top Shelf has switched to ordering plastic bottles.
Not all bourbon brands offer plastic bottling, which is part of the heist.
Delays in delivery hold back morale
Imports from France such as cognacs, scotch and champagne are blocked in ports or on carriers.
“We don’t know when the containers are going to hit the ports and be dispersed,” Febus said. “It’s going to be hit or miss on a lot of things. We already have clients planning the vacations. There are a lot of bourbons that are allocated in Ohio that we don’t get a lot. research these on a weekly basis. “
What is the hardest bourbon to stock?
Febus said at the moment that anything from Buffalo Trace in Kentucky like EH Taylor and Blanton was hard to come by, citing a supply and demand issue.
“I don’t think it’s related to COVID, their bourbon takes seven years to be ready, and demand seven years ago was not close to where it is now… the boom is really big,” he said. explained Febus.
Another brand, Weller, is a Kentucky bourbon that some other states don’t have in stock.
“We have people from Indiana driving here to find that,” Febus added.
The bottom line? Start looking for the holidays now if you plan on giving away bottles of liquor. With increased interest in bourbon, it’s not just liquor stores that are seeing higher demand.
Gervasi Vineyards in Canton, which makes four bourbons, saw a slight increase in bourbon sales compared to last year, said Andrea Harman, marketing director for Gervasi.
Brandy Cask Bourbon and Rum Barrel Bourbon are currently out of stock, but Gervasi expects them to be back for the holidays.
“Gervasi prefers to age bourbon for at least four years in the original charred oak barrel,” Hartman said.
What does Ohio Liquor say?
Ohio Division of Liquor Control spokeswoman Kristen Castle said certain categories of liquor were in higher demand.
“Right now it’s bourbon, tequila, and brandy,” Castle said. “This current trend is global – not just in Ohio. Suppliers are trying to meet consumer demand in all markets, including Ohio.”
If you can’t find the specific bottle you’re looking for, Castle encourages consumers to try a new brand.
“We are entering our busiest time of year (October, November and December) in terms of sales speed, and we expect it to be no different this year,” she added.
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