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Pappy Van Winkle bourbon lottery opens at PLCB

Whiskey lovers looking to sip on a rare bourbon this holiday season, this one’s for you.

The Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board has opened a lottery for more than 1,500 bottles of rare whiskeys, 1,440 of which are variations of the highly hyped Van Winkle bourbons. An additional 150 bottles of Old Forester Birthday Straight Bourbon will also be available in a separate lottery, officials announced Monday.

Pennsylvania residents of legal drinking age, as well as licensees, can enter the lottery online until 5 p.m. Friday. To enter, you have to have an active account on the Fine Wine & Good Spirits website, as well as a verifiable Pennsylvania billing address. You’ll also need to select a Fine Wine & Good Spirits location where your bourbon can be delivered, if you win.

Lottery winners will get a chance to buy one of six Van Winkle bourbons ranging in age from 10 to 23 years. The Van Winkle bourbons being offered are:

  • Old Rip Van Winkle Handmade Straight Bourbon 10 Year Old 107 Proof, $89.99 each — 237 bottles for individual consumers, 78 bottles for licensees

  • Van Winkle Special Reserve Straight Bourbon 12 Year Old 90 Proof, $99.99 each — 599 bottles for individual consumers, 199 bottles for licensees

  • Van Winkle Family Reserve Straight Rye Whiskey 13 Year Old, $159.99 each — 52 bottles for individual consumers, 17 bottles for licensees

  • Pappy Van Winkle’s Family Reserve Straight Bourbon 15 Year Old 107 Proof, $149.99 each — 86 bottles for individual consumers, 28 bottles for licensees

  • Pappy Van Winkle’s Family Reserve Straight Bourbon 20 Year Old 90 Proof, $249.99 each — 81 bottles for individual consumers, 27 bottles for licensees

  • Pappy Van Winkle’s Family Reserve Straight Bourbon 23 Year Old 95 Proof — $399.99 each – 27 bottles for individual consumers, nine bottles for licensees

You can enter the lottery for one, several, or all of the bottles, but you’ll be able to buy only one. Winners of one drawing will be removed from the other drawings for the Van Winkle products.

A separate lottery will be held for the Old Forester bourbon, so if you win the Van Winkle lottery, you’re still eligible to win in the second drawing. That lottery will be for the Old Forester Birthday Straight Bourbon. Ninety bottles for individual consumers will be available and 60 bottles for licensees at $159.99 each.

Winners of that lottery can buy only one bottle of Old Forester.

The PLCB will conduct the lottery the week of Nov. 28, and notify winners and losers in the weeks after the drawing.

Van Winkle bourbons are highly sought after among whiskey enthusiasts and often sell for thousands of dollars on the secondary market. But, as with pretty much everything else alcohol-related in Pennsylvania besides actually drinking it, you can’t legally do that. According to the lottery terms and conditions, if you’re suspected of illegally reselling your bourbon, you could face legal action, and may be disqualified from entering future lotteries.

That wouldn’t be the first minor limited lottery release controversy, though. In 2019 and 2020, a PLCB member and four of the agency’s top employees secured some leftover lottery bottles before they went up for grabs to the public, according to a PennLive report. A State Ethics Commission found no wrongdoing, and the PLCB later launched an internal investigation that resulted in policy changes at the agency.

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