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Pappy Van Winkle’s back in Utah, but now you won’t have to stand in line for it

Posted at 3:19 PM, Dec 03, 2019
and last updated 2019-12-03 23:32:33-05

SALT LAKE CITY — Pappy Van Winkle, the highly coveted bourbon that sells for much cheaper here because of a loophole in Utah’s highly restrictive liquor laws, has returned.

But this year, you won’t have to race around the state to get your hands on a bottle.

Instead, Utah’s Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control put it up for a drawing on its website. Customers must register online and will be informed if they’re a winner.

For years, people would race from store to store or stand in line for hours to try to get a bottle of the rare bourbon. Utah mandates liquor be sold at cost plus 88% markup. It’s that mandate that means Pappy Van Winkle is sold for less than other states charge because there is no “free market” in a liquor control state.

The DABC instituted the “rare liquor drawing” after complaints about how Pappy was always gone and sometimes a few people seemed to know before the general public. The agency instituted the new rule to be more equitable (but they can’t call it a lottery because those are illegal in Utah).

Late Tuesday, the DABC’s site experienced delays loading or stopped responding for some who attempted to sign up for the rare liquor drawing. It was not immediately clear the cause but it appeared to be related to the Pappy drawing.