Old Rip Van Winkle Distillery
Prized bottles of Pappy Van Winkle whiskey that were recently recovered after being stolen must be destroyed instead of being sold at auction, Franklin County sheriff Pat Melton has decided.
The 28 bottles of Pappy Van Winkle, a historic and rare Kentucky bourbon, were originally confiscated by authorities in the course of investigating a theft ring operated by “rogue distillery workers,” according to The Associated Press. The crime ring has been operational for a number of years and involved tens of thousands in stolen whiskey.
The bottles were originally intended to be sold at auction, with proceeds going to charity — but those plans were scrapped after Julian Van Winkle III, the grandson of Julian "Pappy" Van Winkle Sr., raised concerns about whether the supply had been tampered with.
“In Van Winkle's eyes, the risk of harming the reputation of his hallowed brand isn't worth the publicity,” industry expert F. Paul Pacult told the AP.
It is now up to circuit judge Thomas Wingate to decide what happens to the bottles.