If you are a bourbon or whiskey enthusiast, you’ve likely noticed that whiskey collecting has become a hot hobby. This has led to higher prices and harder-to-find bottles that just a few years ago were populating shelves across the country. You might even do some whiskey collecting yourself.
So, we want to ask (and maybe provide an answer to), “Should I collect or drink my whiskey?” Let’s have some fun.
Why Do People Collect Bourbon and Whiskey Anyways?
Depending on the brand, rarity, and many other factors, whiskey can be pretty expensive. Some rarer bottles can fetch hundreds if not thousands of dollars. And most of these bottles are never opened but are used to impress the collector’s whiskey-loving friends. After all, if you invest in something, you want it to appreciate in value, not lose any.
For those who look at everyone’s favorite brown spirit as a collector’s item, their goal might be to “flip” it and turn a profit after a time. As with anything, sometimes that works out, and sometimes it doesn’t (raise your hand if you’re still holding onto that Beanie Baby collection).
Secondary markets can be volatile. So, what’s the draw? Why pay a large sum for something when there’s only a chance it will work out?
Perhaps, it’s the thrill of the hunt!
The Hunt for Rare Whiskey and Bourbon
Collecting bourbon can be a fun and rewarding experience, especially if you enjoy the thrill of finding rare or hard-to-find bottles. Some will travel hundreds of miles to get a bottle they’ve been seeking or spend all night hanging out in line when distilleries have special releases. Clever collectors will tell you they even “have a guy” that will reach out to them when something unique comes into a store.
If you are new to collecting or want to become a collector, consider these tips:
Tip #1 – Be Patient
You will need a lot of patience, perseverance, and knowledge to build a worthwhile collection. Bourbon is a highly competitive and constantly evolving market, with new releases, limited editions, and special releases always coming out. Some of the best places to find rare bourbons are smaller liquor stores in small towns. Big city stores or big wine and liquor shops have much higher traffic and are less likely to keep something special on the shelf for very long (if it ever makes the shelf to begin with).
Tip #2 – Buy Direct from Distilleries When You Can
Distilleries love to drum up excitement for popular releases. Some have lotteries, while others prefer a first-come-first-serve mentality. Regardless, the price is almost always best when purchasing directly from the source. After it leaves the gift shop or distillery bar, the distillery has no control over what happens on the secondary market. So, head to a distillery during a big release and make a whole day out of it when you can.
Tip #3 – Try Not to Overpay
What counts as overpaying for whiskey and bourbon? That’s a subjective question that’s up to you to decide. Just remember why you’re doing what you’re doing, and be smart in the price you’re willing to pay. Continuously overpaying could lead to even higher markups in the future.
Tip #4 – Store Your Whiskey Right
If you bought a really expensive car, you wouldn’t leave it out in the rain all day and night, right? No. You’d probably put a cover over it and store it in a lot or garage. It’s the same with whiskey. Okay, maybe you don’t need to cover it up, but certainly, there’s a right and a wrong way to store whiskey. Air, sunlight, and extreme temperature can alter whiskey’s flavor and color. It’s best to store whiskey in a cool, dark place away from light and heat. If you open it, make sure to close it securely between use.
Tip #5 – Network With Other Collectors or Enthusiasts
Part of the fun of collecting anything, even whiskey, is being a part of a bigger community. Find other collectors and enthusiasts who share your love of whiskey. You can alert each other when there’s a bottle available or celebrate your discoveries together. The only thing better than drinking whiskey is drinking whiskey with friends.
Tip #6 – Have Fun With It
At Lux Row Distillers, we take our spirits very seriously. We have to because we care about the quality of our products. That doesn’t mean we don’t also have a whole lot of fun. Whiskey is our passion; sharing that whiskey with as many people as possible drives us to work hard every day.
Hopefully, that passion and fun show when people come through our doors, whether to grab a drink, visit the gift shop or take a distillery tour.
Whether you’re a serious collector or like to take a dram out of every bottle you own, we hope you’ll always enjoy your time spent with whiskey.
So, whether you should collect your whiskey and bourbon or drink it–heck, that’s entirely up to you. Just know we’re always here, ready to celebrate with you either way.