(WKBN) – There’s a high chance that you’re having high frustration while having difficulty getting high-proof spirits. Ohio and Pennsylvania have been using lotteries for years to get the biggest in-demand bottles… and it’s growing.
The shelves of bourbon are stocked at Chalet Premier. There are plenty of options, and some of the drinks are more satisfying than others.
“It’s the hard-to-get stuff. It’s not just the hunt, it’s the chase for these people, for the most part,” said Jason Fithian, liquor manager at Chalet Premier.
Tuesday is delivery day at Chalet Premier when some hard-to-find bottles will be available. The hunters will be after the special blends.
Fithian said it has been going on for a few years now.
“At least three or four years now, if not longer, and I just don’t see it stopping anytime soon at the moment,” he said.
Ohio just finished its spring bottle lottery, which had 92,000 entries. Winners received the right to buy one of the nearly 3,300 bottles across all brands. The state does six to eight year bottle lotteries and the biggest is in December, usually with the biggest names in bourbon like Buffalo Trace and Pappy Van Winkle.
The bottle lottery started in 2017 when a supplier gave Ohio a message.
“Make it a fair and equitable process, and the bottle lottery process was born out of that conversation,” said Kristen Castle with Ohio Liquor.
Ohio and Pennsylvania want to make it fair for people to get these big names that produce far fewer bottles than what demand requires.
Pennsylvania has been doing bottle lotteries since 2015. The latest limited release has 3,919 bottles of 11 rare whiskeys, and winners will have the option to buy a bottle.
“The funny thing here is if you go back 10 or 15 years, some of the products we have here would be on store shelves. There just was not popularity,” said Shawn Kelly, press secretary for the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board.
The next big thing could be tequila. It’s growing fast. What’s driving the popularity? Celebrity endorsements like George Clooney, Kendall Jenner and Mark Wahlberg.