The Bourbon So Exclusive Even Billionaires Can't Buy It - NBC Chicago

The Bourbon So Exclusive Even Billionaires Can't Buy It

Pappy Van Winkle's devoted fans camp out in front of liquor stores for days

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    AP, File
    Recovered bottles of 20 year-old Pappy Van Winkle bourbon and Eagle Rare single barrel bourbon are shown during a news conference at the Franklin County Sheriff's Office, Tuesday, April 21, 2015, in Frankfort, Ky. Nine people were indicted relating to the theft of more than $100,000 worth of bourbon from the Wild Turkey and Buffalo Trace distilleries. (AP Photo/Timothy D. Easley)

    Ten years ago, no one imagined that bar snobs would eagerly pay upwards of $100 for an ounce of whiskey, or that a loosely organized crime syndicate would steal $100,000 worth of it in 2013.

    But with the $2.9 billion bourbon industry facing critical shortages, NBC News reports that connoisseurs are going to increasingly wild lengths to get their hands on the most coveted prize of all: Pappy Van Winkle.

    Pappy's devoted fans camp out in front of liquor stores for days and pay hundreds of dollars to charity raffles for the chance at winning a bottle. With demand far exceeding supply, theft and counterfeit have crept into the market too.

    Chris Brantley, creator of a Pappy-centric website, told NBC News his first taste of the Family Reserve 20-year bourbon "blew everything else out of the water."