Known as one of the finest bourbons in the world, Pappy Van Winkle is a rare find these days. It’s unknown how many cases are available each year, and prices have risen to insane amounts (we’re talking $1,500 a bottle). So if you happen to get your hands on one, or even a taste, it’s common sense you’d want to try it unadulterated, right?
A Louisville bar, Meta, was so fed up with the hype and high prices in 2014 that bar owner Jeremy Johnson took its bottles of Pappy and made Jell-O shots out of them. Whiskey enthusiasts may have been upset, but the stunt gave the bar such a major press boost he may be banned from receiving Pappy for life, especially when he did it again in 2015 and 2016.
Munchies talked with Johnson, who told the publication, “I didn’t hear anything directly from Sazerac [this year], but I know I pissed them off. I knew this was going to be controversial when I did it. I didn’t know we would get all the press we did—I thought maybe someone local would write about it.”
The Sazerac Company produces Pappy Van Winkle’s bourbon at its Buffalo Trace Distillery. Sazerac claims allocation is up to the distributors, which had sold Johnson the bottles in previous years. Johnson didn’t receive any Pappy this year.
Whether Johnson was indeed banned or not we’ll probably never know, but we do know it’s still tough as ever to get your hands on some Pappy at a reasonable price. Probably better to just make your own.