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Sometimes the Bourbon Hunt Comes to You

In Banter by Lee StangLeave a Comment

Yes, There Are Bourbon Gods

I am a big fan of the Buffalo Trace Antique Collection, but as I grow in my bourbon journey, I will admit I have limited my hunt for the BTAC more towards pours at bars then scouring the secondary market. My favorite is William LaRue Weller. I was able to get a bottle of George T Stagg back in 2011 from a store in Frederick County, MD. I still have a couple of pours left of that one. But over the years I have shied away from the hunt.

This year, the Virginia ABC system has been doing lotteries for limited availability products. The BTAC and Pappy Van Winkle 20 and 23-year-old bourbons, however, go to people on a waiting list which are at least three years long. Montgomery County in Maryland does a lottery for BTAC and other limited availability products. I have never paid much attention to their lottery.

I lived in Montgomery County for 52 years until moving to Virginia over 11 years ago. It is one of a few counties in the US that runs their government controlled liquor boards. So not a control state but a control county. This year the Montgomery County lottery included the Buffalo Trace Antique Collection, Elijah Craig 18-year-old, Four Roses Limited Edition and Old Forester Birthday Bourbon. 95 bottles in all.

The weekend before Thanksgiving, on the way to visit my wife’s mother in Pennsylvania, my wife, Patti, received an email thanking her for entering the Montgomery County lottery and included her lottery number. The thing is, she didn’t enter the lottery, and neither one of us has any idea how she became entered. Later in the day, she received an email with the results and her number didn’t come up. The email said that bottles must be picked up within three days. Anything not picked up would go back into the drawing and second round winners would be notified individually.

On the following Tuesday, Patti received another email saying she had won the opportunity to purchase a bottle of George T Stagg. The pickup had to be by Friday COB, in Rockville, MD. We were planning on going to Annapolis, MD on Friday for an overnight stay and visit to Dry 85 Bourbon Bar. So it wasn’t too far off the path for pick up.

On Friday we arrived at the designated store not long after it opened. At the time, we were unaware that the Montgomery County lottery was open to anyone and we weren’t sure how this would work since we live in Virginia. Patti, however, had already communicated with the Liquor Control person who sent out the emails, so we were reasonably sure things would work out.

At the counter, Patti presented her email and ID. The woman went back to the office (just off the counter) and found Patti’s name but said that the address didn’t match.

“The address has to match identically,” came a voice from an unseen person in the office. Momentary fear.

My wife walked over and pointed out the address and that they did match. Everyone was satisfied and the one doubtful moment was past. The clerk rang it up, and we were out. $109 with tax.

George T Stagg in the house!!!

I noticed while the clerk was retrieving the bottle that it was from a case of other bottles as well. It appears that out of the 95 bottles in the first round lottery, about 20 were not picked up. Some pretty nice bottles of bourbon left there for another round.

Patti and I still have no idea how she was entered in the lottery. The email address they used is one Patti gives out very infrequently. Also, the home address they had for us has a little-known addition that most people don’t know. Plus, they had her cell phone number. We can’t think of anyone we know who could have put this all together with the Montgomery County bourbon lottery, and entered her name.

It remains a mystery. Sometimes the hunt comes to you.

There are Bourbon Gods!!!!

About the Author

Lee Stang


Lee’s bourbon journey started with one mistaken gulp of bourbon and coke as an eight-year-old. While bourbon was always part of his life, Lee followed a beer, wine path for the most part until a bartender poured him a taste of Buffalo Trace about ten years ago. It was at that point Lee’s love of bourbon really took off. Not only does Lee enjoy a good pour of bourbon but he is more than willing and excited to talk about it. Lee believes that bourbon, and for that matter all spirits, is enhanced by the experience of good company, good conversation and good bars. The combination leads to great stories. Say hi to him when you see him. Lee lives in Leesburg, VA, with his wife, best friend, and drinking partner, Patti. You might find her having a bourbon as well. Both Lee and Patti like to read mystery thrillers and travel. Most likely the travel leads to visits to new bars.

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