Bourbon Hunting – 9 Quick Tips
Bourbon Hunting Tips in time for the Fall, let us know what we’re missing!
Use Google Maps.
Not only will this help you find Liquor Stores a little bit easier when you’re bourbon hunting, but you’ll be able to add a label to the location so you can remember it. This helps for when you want to know if you’ve already been somewhere. Surprisingly 6 months down the road you’ll find a way to forget if you have been somewhere.
Starred (yellow star) – Been to, nothing memorable.
Favorites (red heart) – You know the deal, there’s something worth going back for.
Saved (green tab) – Places you want to go.
Quit looking for Pappy Van Winkle.
Sure, it would be great to stumble across a bottle but when you’re out bourbon hunting with the the goal of finding Pappy, you miss out on a lot of great bourbon. Open your eyes to the reality that Pappy isn’t everything and your pursuit of it only puts blinders on you.
Start looking for Dusties.
Bourbon Hunting for dusties is a fun time. When you’re looking for dusties it starts with knowing what you’re looking for. Do a little research and figure out which UPC codes, labels, laser codes and bottle years you’re looking for. Next, look behind the bottles on the bottom shelf. Tell the liquor store you’re not looking for Pappy (win a little respect) and ask if they have anything a little bit older in the back that they haven’t been able to sell. You’re looking for whiskey made with non-gmo corn.
Nobody likes a jerk, and people generally help people out who they like. When you walk in, pick your face up out of your phone and greet the owner. Ask how the day is going for them, or at least smile and nod as you walk in. Bourbon Hunting is annoying for many store owners because you’re just coming in to scoop up their best stuff. The least you can do is be friendly with the people you encounter.
Get to know release dates.
Follow your favorite blogs to learn when the seasons bourbons are dropping. Bourbon Hunting can be a lot more successful if you know when to go to the store. With that said, you should probably buy a bottle every now and then when you stop in to maintain your relationships with the store owners.
Ask About Text / Email Lists.
Many store owners are sending out emails and texts to customers who are willing to ask. So when you pop in, ask if they have a list you can sign up for to be notified about the whiskey shipments they receive.
Take Pictures of the Shelves
I know many stores are opposed to having your phones out, so be careful not to upset people. However, when you can you should try to snap a picture of the liquor wall while bourbon hunting so you can study it later. Unless you’re Rain Man and can immediately catalog the price and what you’re looking for there is a good chance you have passed right over some great stuff without even knowing it. Going back to those photos after you educate yourself a little more can be a great way of “finding” something that was under your nose the whole time.
Never give up.
Bourbon Hunting is a numbers game, you’re not going to stop into 1 or 2 stores at random and land a rare bottle, it takes time and effort. If you have ever hunted you know that a good chunk of time you go home home empty handed, sometimes you get really close but decide you don’t feel comfortable with the shot and you walk away. You’re bound to come across nice bottles overpriced that get your hopes up, understand it’s okay to walk away.
Tip for Liquor Store Owners.
Hook up your regulars. Don’t let someone come in off the street you’ve never seen before and scoop up your entire fall allocation. If someone has spent hundreds or thousands of dollars with you, offer them the bottle first. Make a list of the people who have been friendly, spent money, helped you promote your social media, told friends to come visit you. The least you can do is give them the first opportunity to buy your limited release bottle.