With the scarcity of many high-end bourbons sending prices through the roof and creating a bourbon black market, Todd Antz at the Keg Liquors decided to come up with a way to not only circumvent those shady dealings, but to also raise money for charity in the process.
“The Great Big Charity Bourbon Silent Auction,” which ends tomorrow at noon, will auction off a number of highly sought-after spirits at a premium price, with any profit above retail going to benefit the WHAS-11 Crusade for Children.
The auction comprises of 13 items, including bottles of Pappy Van Winkle 10, 12, 15, 20 and 23 years, a bottle of George T. Stagg, a bottle of Colonel E.H. Taylor Straight Rye, an Elijah Craig and more. Bidders can bid by e-mail and must be 21, and winners must pay for their item in person.
While many stores raffle off such items or sell them first-come, first-served, Antz feared his two stores couldn’t handle an onslaught of hundreds of Pappy-chasers; he also didn’t want to sell the bottles at retail only to see them pop up the next day on Craigslist for triple the price.
“The easy thing to do would have been to mark them up outrageously, sell them as quickly as possible, and pocket the difference,” Antz said. “The idea hit me to make this a charity function. If there is this much demand, I knew people would be willing to pay more than what retail should be, but why not help raise money for a worthy charity at the same time?”
Essentially, the winner of each item gets to buy the spirit with the amount over retail going as a donation to the Crusade.
Antz started all auction items at retail, set up an email account just for the event, and posts a daily update on how the bidding is going. The number of updates will increase as tomorrow’s noon finish line approaches.
Sorry, black market; this cuts out those who hoard bottles and then re-sell for profit, and it may even spare someone from buying a black-market bottle of rare bourbon that has been counterfeited — refilling high end bottles with lower quality bourbon is yet another bourbon black market tactic.
“I’ve been shocked by the stories of fraudulent product that is out on the black market, and how much people are paying for it, not knowing if it’s the real deal or not,” Antz said. “This event will give people the option to bid at a legitimate, licensed business, knowing that they will be getting the real product.”
Kudos to Antz and his idea. It’s less of a hassle for him as a liquor store owner than a lottery, and it is legit. He gets to sell his allotted high-end bourbon for a retail profit, customers get a fair shot at their sought-after bourbon, and the Crusade for Children gets a nice donation when it’s all over.
“I’ve had colleagues in the business call me a fool for throwing away the potential profits on these items,” he said. “But in the end, we know that we’ll get some great bourbons and whiskeys into people’s hands, and help out our friends at the Crusade as well.”