It seems like everyone wants bourbon bragging rights or to elicit sighs for their shelves of scotch. For the beginner with a sparse bar cart and small budget, joining in the rare spirits collection craze can seem difficult and expensive. There are ways to start a collection without breaking the bank, but “collectible” also implies “rare,” meaning tough to locate. These tips for finding collectible liquors will help.
Decide Why You Want To Collect
Before you start your collection, decide why you want to do it. Are you going to drink your fine bottles, or are you looking at them as an investment that will appreciate? Are you building a collection so that you can offer friends a sampling of rare spirits, or do you just want them to salivate, unrewarded with a sip, when they look at your dust-filled liquor cabinet? When you know why you’re doing it, you’ll have a better idea of what to look for when you get out there to find collectible liquors.
Rare and Collectible Doesn’t Necessarily Mean Old
While collectors have cleaned out many an obscure shop, and the monied set can afford to bid astonishing sums at auction, you can still score rare liquor and collectible spirits by keeping an eye on the calendar. Many distilleries make annual and special releases; to snare bottles of these limited series, join online communities, watch Facebook feeds, bookmark your favorite distilleries, and mark your calendar. Get to know your retailer and stay informed about what’s coming and when. Throw your hat in the ring for retail lotteries. After all, somebody has to win.
Don’t overlook local distilleries. Keep an eye on those that open and see how they last. A hyperlocal bottle with limited distribution is, by definition, rare. Taste it; if you like it, buy one bottle to drink and one to keep to see if it becomes hot in a few years.
Road Trips and Bourbon Tours
The distillery gift shop is one place you might find bottles that seem to disappear before they even reach store shelves. Old Mom and Pop shops in rural areas might have remained undiscovered and could harbor some old bottles.
Subscribe and Learn
Get busy doing your research by looking at authoritative sources regarding price and quality. Some spirits have an enduring appeal that will resist the ebb and flow of trends. Others will be in one year and out the next. Get back to the basics and ask yourself again, “Why am I doing this?” Some retailers are so sick and tired of bourbon hunters who clearly are in it only to flip bottles for a profit that they won’t sell to that kind of collector. Ultimately, the quest to find collectible liquors is to give you a chance to taste and savor quality.