By Angela Davis

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Overnight in northeast Minneapolis, it looked like Black Friday deals had returned. A long line of people stood outside of Surdyk’s liquor store, long before it opened — all for a rare and expensive bourbon called Pappy Van Winkle.

It’s only released once a year and in limited amounts. And this year, there’s even fewer bottles to sell.

On an icy morning, it’s good to have warm thoughts about something you love.

“We had about 100 people wrapped around the whole building, waiting for the release of the Pappy Van Winkle,” Melissa Surdyk said.

Pappy Van Winkle is a wildly popular, small batch bourbon. And when it’s released, it typically sells out within minutes.

“We had about 40 bottles for sale, it’s a very limited release, each person got one bottle of it,” Surdyk said.

The guy who was first in line was able to buy the one and only bottle Surdyk’s had that was 23 years old. And one man, well, he was too late to buy any of it.

Steve Varichak came to buy a bottle for his friend.

Unfortunately, it sold out in 15 minutes.

“I didn’t think it would be that much of a demand, but there you go. Now I know. I’ll have to wait until next year I suppose,” he said.

The Buffalo Trace Distillery in Frankfort, Kentucky produces about 7,000 cases of Pappy Van Winkle a year.

So when thieves stole 65 cases of it in October, it made the odds of being able to buy it even worse.

Lindsey Coleman is a manager at Surdyk’s.

“People really want it, obviously. There’s a black market for this stuff. A lot of people will sell it on eBay or CraigsList. And they will ask any price for it. There’s no real control,” she said.

Maybe you have never heard of Pappy Van Winkle bourbon, but a lot of people have.

At Surdyk’s they say they get calls inquiring about it every day of the year.

The most expensive bottle at Surdyk’s sold for $375.
The people whole stole those cases of bourbon in Kentucky have not been caught yet.

But just this week a $10,000 reward was announced for tips leading to an arrest in the case.


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