Ohio’s Pappy Van Winkle bourbon lottery to expand this year with more bottles, online entries

Ohio will expand its holiday bourbon lottery this year to give more of the Buckeye state’s bourbon enthusiasts the opportunity to purchase some of the most sought-after spirits on the market, including, yes, the Pappy Van Winkle 23-year that to some aficionados is the Holy Grail of bourbon.

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Ohio Division of Liquor Control Superintendent Jim Canepa announced today, Nov. 14, that the 2018 Ohio Bottle Lottery begins at 12:01 a.m. Monday, Dec. 10 and runs through 11:59 p.m. Friday, Dec. 21. That 12-day stretch is the entry period. Similar to last year, paper entries will be available at all 475 state liquor-agency stores, but new this year, Ohioans can enter online without fussing with a paper ticket by going to www.com.ohio.gov/liqr/BottleLottery after the lottery begins. All entries, whether paper or online, will have an equal chance of winning.

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And that’s not all that’s new this year. The 2018 lottery includes not only all of the Pappy Van Winkle collection that was sold last year (a few more bottles of it, actually), but also five other relatively rare  bottles that are part of the Buffalo Trace Distillery Antique Collection, Canepa said. (The full list is below.)

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Those Ohioans whose names are drawn will be notified during the first full week of January, then will have a week, between Jan. 25 and Feb. 1, to buy their special bottles at their designated state liquor agency store.

To be clear here, winners of the lottery are NOT NOT NOT winning a free bottle of bourbon. They are winning the right to purchase one bottle of a specific bourbon that has been designated on their winning entry. They will have to pay the regular, but not-jacked-up, retail price. 

RELATED: ‘GAME-CHANGER’: Ohio’s small distilleries catch big break from the state

And if the retail prices listed here sound high, just Google some of those Pappy  products and take a look at what they’re selling for on the secondary market elsewhere in the country. The results may astonish you.

Here are the products that are included in the Lottery: 

Pappy Van Winkle 

  •  Old Rip Van Winkle 10, $54.96 
  •  Old Rip Van Winkle 12, $64.22 
  •  Pappy Van Winkle 15, $91.98 
  •  Pappy Van Winkle 20, $156.80 
  •  Pappy Van Winkle 23, $249.38 

 Buffalo Trace Antique Collection

  •  Eagle Rare 17, $99.99 
  •  George T. Stagg, $99.99 
  •  Sazerac Rye 18, $99.99 
  •  Thomas H. Handy, $99.99 
  •  William Larue Weller, $99.99 

 Canepa said the division of liquor control is holding the lotteries to give as many Ohioans as possible the chance to purchase some of the tiny-batch production bourbons in high demand nationwide. The division superintendent himself has been making pitches to the distilleries that produce some of these rare, sought-after bourbons to allocate some bottles to Ohio.

“We’re trying to create the best market in our state so we can lure producers to bring their product to our market,” Canepa said in a conference call today with journalists regarding the 2018 bottle lottery.

RELATED: Local distilleries get green light to offer food, drinks (May 2016)

Lottery tickets will ask the entrant for the usual information plus his or her Ohio Driver’s License number, which will be used to confirm the winners are indeed residents of the Buckeye state and are of legal drinking age.

Here’s a bit more of the legal language the Ohio Liquor Control agency shared:

The 2018 Ohio Bottle Lottery is limited to one entry per person. There is no cost to enter, and no purchase is necessary at a Contract Liquor Agency to receive a ticket. Winners have the right to purchase one bottle at retail. Bottles are for personal use, not for resale. Bottles available for purchase will be determined by Division of Liquor Control staff. Entrants must be at least 21 years old and an Ohio resident to enter and win. Entrants acknowledge that their information becomes a public record subject to possible public release under Ohio’s public records law. The lottery is not open to employees of the Ohio Division of Liquor Control, Republic National Distributing Company, JobsOhio, agency store owners and their employees/immediate families. All entries must be submitted by 11:59 p.m. 12/21/2018. Winners will be notified in early January. Winners must purchase their bottle by 2/1/2019 or risk forfeiting the ability to purchase.

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