Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Buffalo Trace Shortages

Buffalo Trace announced about a week ago that they are experiencing shortages on some of their bourbon, specifically, bourbon that feeds their house brand and Eagle Rare.

The fact that BT's parent company, Sazerac, issued a press release is noteworthy.  During past shortages, news of something like this came by word of mouth through enthusiasts with inside knowledge or via distributors advising retail clients of shortages.

This happened around spring of 2008 when Weller Special Reserve went missing for a period of time.  I couldn't find any locally but managed to happen upon a country store in rural Maryland that had two bottles sitting on the shelf for $15 each so of course I grabbed them.  During this same timeframe, Binny's Beverage Depot purchased two barrels of Weller 12 (which was actually a 14 year) and in my conversation with their manager he indicated that BT told him he would not be able to purchase any more barrels for a while due to some shortages.  Now, it could have been true or a PR stunt to increase awareness and demand.  In any case, the shortage was noted in many markets for multiple labels.

Going forward what should we expect to see?  I don't know as my crystal ball isn't working but historically, BT has dropped labels in efforts to consolidate or support more popular labels.  I don't see BT dropping their house brand but Eagle Rare....who knows.


  1. Buffalo Trace just announced (not publically) that they've dropped Ancient Ancient Age 10 Year Old. So your crystal ball is working pretty damned well, I'd say. That whiskey will no doubt be kicked "upstairs", as it were, which means into the higher priced brands.

    1. That's not surprising if true. Will wait and see if Sazerac distributes a news release. A number of years back John Hanzell named AAA 10 year 86 proof best value whiskey. I have a number of liters in the bunker that I picked up when it was announced they were not selling AAA 10 year outside of KY. I think it's a very good value pour. If memory serves, AAA is BT's mashbill #2 so not sure which label would benefit. Blantons maybe? GTS uses mashbill #1 so that doesn't benefit. Now, if they dropped Eagle Rare, then those 10 year old barrels used for ER could be kicked "upstairs" for GTS. All speculation so we'll just have to wait and see.

  2. Oh, it's true. Here's a direct cut and paste from the e-mail that I received on June 12th when I sent an e-mail directly to Buffalo Trace:


    Thank you for your recent inquiry regarding our Ancient Ancient Age products. Unfortunately our Ancient Ancient Age 10 year product has been discontinued. If you will let me know where you live I will see if our AAA 10 Star is distributed there? Thanks!


    Nan Harnice

    Consumer Affairs Associate

    Buffalo Trace Distillery

    113 Great Buffalo Trace

    Frankfort, KY 40601

    ...and AAA 10 Years is indeed, or was, mashbill #2, so that means a family lineage with Blanton's, Elmer T. Lee (I'll bet that'll be the next to go) and Rick Hill Farms (also a candidate for mothballing, I'd wager). I'll also bet that you're right about ET 10 Year Old getting the boot. For some reason it's being sold for a really low price all over the place ($26 here in New York), which could mean (and often does mean) that they and their wholesalers are dumping it to clean the slate. I'm buying up all I can afford, like I did with the AAA 10 Year Old as soon as I got the official word that it was history.

  3. Weller 12 Year Old has gotten pretty scarce lately. Like, REALLY, REALLY scarce. Same with ETL. Crazy allocation stories from retailers on everything from ER10 up the ladder.

  4. Shortages have happened in the past and no doubt will happen in the future. Nice thing is many distillers have or are in the process of increasing production. To be honest, when OWA and WSR went NAS, I figured W12 would be on their heels. It's nice to see the twelve year old still around but who knows for how long? For those that like wheat mashbills, KBD has been distilling a wheat mashbill as is Smooth Ambler.