Buffalo Trace started all of the bourbon shortage hysteria with their first report three years ago. Since then, they have gotten increasingly careful about how they word things. I will, therefore, let them speak for themselves. By the way, Buffalo Trace is owned by Sazerac, which also owns the Barton 1792 Distillery in Bardstown. This press release refers to Buffalo Trace and its brands only.
There’s good news and there’s bad news coming from Buffalo Trace Distillery in its third annual bourbon inventory update. The good news is that supplies of fully-aged whiskey at the 225-plus-year-old Distillery continue to increase and Buffalo Trace is making more whiskey than ever. The bad news is that demand continues to outstrip its available supply, which means all of the Distillery’s whiskey brands remain on allocation.
“This annual update relates to Buffalo Trace Distillery specifically, and is not intended to speak for the bourbon industry as a whole, or other distillers,” said Kris Comstock, bourbon marketing director.
“Not a day goes by that we don’t hear from fans asking why they can’t find their favorite whiskey at the local liquor store, so we are offering an annual update to inform people where we stand, and ensure fans we are distilling more whiskey and planning for the future.”
Since demand continues to outstrip supply, brands such as Elmer T. Lee, Rock Hill Farms, Van Winkle, and the Antique Collection (George T. Stagg, William Larue Weller, Sazerac 18, Thomas H. Handy, and Eagle Rare 17) will continue to be on strict allocation and hard to find for the foreseeable future.
Buffalo Trace, Eagle Rare, Blanton’s, Weller, Sazerac Rye, Stagg Jr., and E. H. Taylor, Jr. will continue to be in short supply, but will benefit slightly from increased production more than a decade ago. “Although we can’t guarantee that every fan will find Buffalo Trace or Blanton’s every time they visit the liquor store, things are starting to look up, and overall our inventory is in a better place than it was a year ago. We are very appreciative that fans like our whiskey and thankful for all of their continued patience,” added Comstock.
A few things that Buffalo Trace Distillery will NOT do:
- Buffalo Trace Distillery won’t lower their quality standards or alcohol by volume (ABV) just to sell more whiskey.
- The suggested retail pricing will not be raised just to take advantage of the high demand. (Note, although some stores may charge a premium for Buffalo Trace’s limited brands, the Distillery is not asking them to do so.)
- Brands won’t be discontinued. All bourbon brands will continue to be produced and allocated each year, with a focus on quality and making more.
The innovation Buffalo Trace is so well known for is being enhanced as the Distillery expands – its experimental warehouse, Warehouse X, has had nearly one year of barrels aging in it, yielding data with very interesting results; more than 3,000 barrels of experimental whiskies are currently aging on the Distillery’s grounds; and research on DNA fingerprinting is taking place as well.
The whiskies from Buffalo Trace are benefiting from resurgence in the category as a whole.
According to Nielsen, bourbon and whiskey grew at 6% for the 52 weeks ending 3/28/15, with premium volumes up 6.2% and ultra volumes up 19%.