This may come under the heading of 'no good deed goes unpunished,' for them and for me, but here goes. Buffalo Trace has issued a press release to address some of the rumors that are going around. It follows but, first, a brief commentary.
Buffalo Trace makes more different bourbon and rye brands than anyone else in the business. All of those brands have increased in popularity in recent years That is mostly good -- for them and us -- but a little bit bad, because Buffalo Trace has had a worse shortage problem than anyone else in the business. They also rely on the serious bourbon enthusiast market more than anyone else in the business. And they do a better job than anyone else of showing love to that audience. That's why they take chances and put out announcements like this:
After providing a recent update to its fans about the bourbon shortage the Distillery currently faces, the rumor mill spun into overdrive as a few folks speculated on why it was difficult to find their favorite Buffalo Trace bourbons on liquor store shelves.
"Many people dismissed the warning about our bourbon shortage, speculating that this was a publicity stunt we conceived to sell more bourbon. That's simply not true. We only provided the update to consumers, retailers, and bartenders in an honest and forthright attempt to explain why bottles seem so scarce these days. Many liquor stores across the country may have empty shelves, and we felt an obligation to explain why," said Kris Comstock, bourbon marketing director. "While we cannot speak for the bourbon industry as a whole, our bourbon shortages are a very real problem, driven by increased demand for the brands. Every single one of our bourbon brands is currently on strict allocation. While we are, and have been, making more over the last several years, bourbon takes a long time to age in oak barrels. As we wait for barrels to mature, there will be temporary periods in which bottles are hard to find."
Once people started to see empty shelves at the local store, rumors started flying. Here are some of the most popular rumors:
Rumor #1: Weller 12 Year-Old-Bourbon will be being discontinued. False. There are no plans to discontinue Weller 12 Year. In fact, we have increased production by a considerable amount for future sales.
Rumor #2: All of the Weller Bourbon is now being shipped to Japan. False. None of the Weller Bourbons (Special Reserve, Old Weller Antique, 12 Year-Old, and William Larue Weller) are shipped to Japan.
Rumor #3: Buffalo Trace is shipping most of its bourbon to China and Japan. False. While a modest amount of bourbon is sent to those markets, the quantity is very small as we ensure the overwhelming majority is made available here in the United States.
Rumor #4: Eagle Rare Bourbon is now aged only six or seven years. False. Eagle Rare Bourbon is still aged for 10 years and there are no plans to change this. The age statement remains on the back of the bottle.
Rumor #5: Elmer T. Lee is being discontinued. False. We have been making Elmer T. Lee Single Barrel for nearly three decades and have no plans to stop.
Rumor #6: Elmer took the recipe for his bourbon to his grave, so it will never be made again. False. Fortunately and thankfully, we have the recipe for Elmer T. Lee Bourbon and are continuing to make more. Additionally, we have a very full archive library of samples of his favorite picks to ensure consistency for the future.
Rumor #7: Elmer T. Lee is becoming part of the Antique Collection. False. We are very happy with our current lineup of the Antique Collection (George T. Stagg, Sazerac 18 Year, Eagle Rare 17 Year, William Larue Weller and Thomas H. Handy Sazerac) and have no plans to change this lineup or discontinue any of the offerings. Furthermore, our Antique Collection whiskies are only released once annually and we want to offer Elmer T. Lee Single Barrel more regularly throughout the year.
Rumor #8: Buffalo Trace is taking advantage of this bourbon shortage to raise prices. False. Our prices to our customers have and will remain relatively unchanged. We strive to offer consumers award-winning whiskey at a great value. Although a minority of stores may now be charging a premium for these limited brands, we are not asking them to do so. Our commitment to quality and pricing will remain consistent now and in the future