Saturday marks the 140th Run for the Roses: the Kentucky Derby. Great horses, great hats — but where's the Pappy Van Winkle bourbon for the mint juleps?
Last October, more than 200 bottles of the prized spirit were stolen right out of the distillery in Frankfort, Ky. The county sheriff believes it was an inside job, and a $10,000 reward remains on offer.
Kentucky authorities are dangling a $10,000 reward for information that helps solve the disappearance of some sought-after bourbon.
It's become a compelling mystery in a state that produces 95 percent of the world's bourbon. What happened to 65 cases of 20-year-old Pappy Van Winkle bourbon and nine cases of 13-year-old Van Winkle Family Reserve rye? The whiskey was taken from the Buffalo Trace Distillery at Frankfort in mid-October.
The missing whiskey is valued at more than $26,000.
Franklin County Sheriff Pat Melton said Monday the reward could provide "a heck of a Christmas" for someone who helps crack the case.
Melton says a crime stopper's group put up $1,000, but he declined to identify any other donor.
The sheriff says his detectives have interviewed more than 100 people.
The principal of Bardstown High School is denying that he was involved in the theft of some of the world's most prized bourbon. Chris Pickett met with detectives Monday and denied claims that he offered to sell bottle of Pappy Van Winkle to an Elizabethtown liquor store.
An attorney for Pickett told the Courier-Journal that this client “did not” try to sell bottles of the famous bourbon. The lawyer says Pickett was simply inquiring as to whether any Pappy Van Winkle was available for purchase.
Franklin County Sheriff Pat Melton—who is investigating the bourbon theft—said his office needed to verify information before clearing Pickett of any suspicion related to the case.
Sixty-five cases of Pappy Van Winkle bourbon and nine cases of rye were stolen from the Buffalo Trace Distillery in Frankfort. Investigators originally described the crime as an apparent inside job. Video surveillance taken October 20 at a Hardin County liquor store shows Pickett entering and leaving the store.
Sheriff Melton later described the individual in the video as a “person of interest.”
Police are searching for a man who tried to sell a large quantity of a famous bourbon to a Hardin County liquor store. The man—who was caught on surveillance tape—is wanted in questioning over a recent heist of Pappy Van Winkle bourbon.
Police in Franklin County started investigating last week when 65 cases of Pappy Van Winkle bourbon and nine cases of rye turned up missing at the Buffalo Trace Distillery, where the whiskey is bottled and aged. Pappy Van Winkle is routinely one of the most expensive whiskeys in the world, having gaining a cult-like status largely because there’s so little of it to go around each year.
The Courier-Journal reports that Franklin County Sheriff Pat Melton said the man who tried to sell the Pappy Van Winkle to the Hardin County liquor store appeared to be between the ages of 50 and 60, and was wearing what looked like a Bardstown High School pullover. Melton described the man as a “person of interest” and said authorities believe he drove a late model Ford F-150 that appeared to be green with a tan trim.
You can find a link to the surveillance video here.