Just a quick update on the Great Pappy Van Winkle Heist, just because I love this story. Franklin County Sheriff Pat Melton has announced a reward of $10,000! That’s about 50 bottles of Pappy… if you could get it. I doubt they’ll let you take your reward that way, though. The reward money has been put up by an anonymous donor whom I picture in my mind as a elderly gentleman colonel in a white suit who was told by Buffalo Trace that he won’t be getting his own personal annual supply due to the theft.
Said Sheriff Melton, “We just want to bring Pappy home.” I’m sure the sheriff is enjoying the attention brought by a nationally high-profile, non-violent crime, but I also think he really wants to solve this lest he end up seeming like the guy who got beat by the booze bandits. They thought they had a suspect recently, but he’s been cleared. It turns out said suspect is a high school principal who went to a local liquor store to try to buy a bottle. I can see the suspicion though. Even back when I was “rich”, I wouldn’t have been buying this liquor. Where does a public school administrator get the scratch to be buying Pappy?
In the interim, don’t feel bad for Buffalo Trace. They are getting hundreds of times the value of that stolen booze in free, hugely positive media, which in turn is setting off a bit of a Pappy frenzy. Last week, 600 people showed up at an Atlanta liquor store for chance to win a bottle of Pappy Van Winkle.
I found out about the reward while watching CBS This Morning, which devoted several minutes of national airtime to the story, including copious b-roll glamor shots of the distillery, shot by Buffalo Trace’s own marketing people.
And don’t feel sad for CBS’s intrepid, hard-boiled reporters, slogging through the horrid, red state sticks of Central Kentucky to get the story on these thieves, either. The main original reporting done by CBS for the piece consisted of going to a bar in Manhattan with a fellow reporter from the New York Times, where they drank Pappy Van Winkle at fifty bucks a shot on their expense account. They’ll do anything to get the story, those intrepid CBS guys….
There is no clip up of the CBS segment yet, so here is their Louisville affiliate’s piece on the reward, below the fold since it blows up the blog’s formatting: