As for the $2,000-range bottles, what commands that kind of price tag? Heindel said things weren’t always that expensive. A few years ago, these bottles could be found in a local liquor store. “It wasn’t $2,000, they were on the shelves for $60, $70, $80, $100,” he said. “And people thought a $100 bottle of bourbon was the craziest thing they’d ever heard then.”
Now, though, there’s something of a cocktail between the scarcity of the product and its storied history that has driven up such prices.
“The bourbon market in the United States, as well as the domestic rye market, has really taken off over the last number of years and some of the small releases and very special products that came out around the turn of the century are really kind of having their moment in the sun,” Heindel explained. “Everybody’s chasing down the super small production stuff where there just isn’t enough to go around.”
Though home to many premium products, Unicorn Auctions also welcomes more everyday distributors. “We wanted it to be a little more of a friendly, inclusive marketplace where we could work with product all across the realm of bourbon and whiskey and spirits in general.”
Listen to more from Manilow and Heindel’s conversation, including his journey from bartending to co-founding Unicorn Auctions, on this week’s episode of The Dining Table.