Thursday, May 8, 2014

Buffalo Trace Addresses Bourbon Shortage

According to Buffalo Trace Distillery, in a press release today, the bourbon boom shows no signs of letting up and Trace, like all producers, is having trouble meeting demand. Although Trace continues to take steps to mitigate the problem, shortages remain.

About a year ago, Trace warned consumers a shortage was looming, but many markets across the nation are just now feeling the full effects. “We're making more bourbon every day. In fact, we’re distilling more than we have in the last 40 years,” said Harlen Wheatley, master distiller. “Still, it’s hard to keep up. Although we have more bourbon than last year when we first announced the rolling blackouts, we're still short and there is no way to predict when supply will catch up with demand.”

Along with increased production, adding more bottling lines, and hiring more people, Buffalo Trace has hired a full-time barrel allocation manager, as the company announced it would last year. The new allocation manager will balance bourbon inventory with sales volume. Monthly allocations will ensure all markets get some Buffalo Trace, Eagle Rare, and Blanton’s, preventing long periods when these brands are unavailable.

“We taste, approve and bottle what barrels we have available each month. There are shortages because Buffalo Trace, Eagle Rare, and Blanton’s sell out quickly, but no shortage should last more than one month before reinforcements arrive,” said Kris Comstock, bourbon marketing director. “We're asking for continued patience from our fans. The recent surge in demand is quite flattering, but we just need to keep in mind these bourbons were put into the barrel many years ago.”

Comstock added that other highly allocated whiskeys such as Pappy Van Winkle and the Antique Collection will continue to be released annually every fall.

Despite the increase in distillation over the past few years, bourbon demand still outpaces supply. The overall bourbon category is experiencing 5 percent growth, but premium brands are up nearly 20 percent from last year. Bourbon must be matured in new oak barrels and Buffalo Trace ages many of its whiskeys for eight to ten years, some for more than two decades.

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