Pandemic Drinking: The No. 1 Spirit SKU In Kentucky Isn’t Bourbon

Excerpted from

Right now, all the Kentucky bourbon greats are probably looking down from their watering hole in the sky and upon their beloved Commonwealth in absolute disgust. It’s not because Kentuckians haven’t handled the crisis well.

As a matter of fact, Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear is a glowing exampling of how to communicate about the Pandemic, reassuring residents with a #TeamKentucky attitude.

Rather, every bourbon great would hold in disdain the fact that the No. 1 spirit being purchased during this crisis isn’t Jim Beam, Buffalo Trace, Evan Williams, Wild Turkey, Four Roses or another Kentucky bourbon.

So, what is the bestselling spirits brand in Kentucky right now? According to Liquor Barn, the state’s largest independent liquor store chain, it’s—wait for it!—a vodka. The likes of Pappy Van Winkle and Oscar Getz—two iconic bourbon figures who saw vodka dismantle whiskey in the 1960s and send it to the dismal point it’s only now just getting out of—must be rolling in their graves.

Fortunately, while vodka owns the No. 1 spot, Liquor Barn / Party Mart owner Jonathan Blue says bourbon’s still the sensational seller across his 18 stores with seven of the Top 10 spirits sellers being American whiskey.

“As you can imagine, the hunt for high-end bourbon continues and has not dissipated If anything, we have seen that some of the hunters are out and in the stores even more because they believe less people are out, increasing their odds to get premium selections,” says Blue, who’s amassed the largest retail collection of Pappy Van Winkle in the state. “You may have seen some people on social media showing off their ‘Scores.’  We actually have been putting out highly allocated products for people to find as a pleasant surprise when they are in our stores. We have temporarily ceased mass bourbon releases due to the health guidelines as we did not want to have a situation where people are closely gathered together in Liquor Barns.”

In other words, the time is now to shop for high-end bourbons. Perhaps these purchases will help elevate a brand ahead of the No. 1 spot here. For the time being, a vodka brand is the Kentucky champion of spirits.

To read the full story at, click HERE.

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