Crime

Franklin sheriff says stolen Pappy Van Winkle bourbon will be destroyed, not auctioned

Only about 6,000 to 7,000 cases of Pappy are released each year. The total value of the stolen goods — which includes nine cases of 13-year-old Pappy — is at set $26,025, though the street price could be much more.
Only about 6,000 to 7,000 cases of Pappy are released each year. The total value of the stolen goods — which includes nine cases of 13-year-old Pappy — is at set $26,025, though the street price could be much more. Herald-Leader

Franklin County Sheriff Pat Melton has backed off a proposal that 28 bottles of stolen Pappy Van Winkle bourbon should be sold at auction.

Late last year, Melton had told bourbonblog.com that the bottles of rare and expensive Pappy Van Winkle at the center of a bourbon-theft criminal case would be auctioned.

“What we wanted to do was, with the judge’s blessing, have a public auction and auction off the bourbon that we have in the bottles,” Melton said.

But Melton said Tuesday that Julian Van Winkle III, grandson of Julian “Pappy” Van Winkle Sr., wants the stolen bourbon destroyed. Julian Van Winkle was “very concerned” that the stolen bourbon might have been tampered with or contaminated, Melton said.

“I totally understand that and I don’t have a problem with what he’s saying at all,” Melton said.

Nine people were indicted in April on charges of stealing more than $100,000 in bourbon from the Wild Turkey distillery in Anderson County and Buffalo Trace Distillery in Frankfort. The stolen bourbon included bottles of Pappy Van Winkle and Eagle Rare from Buffalo Trace. Four people have pleaded guilty in the case, including a former security guard at Buffalo Trace who was indicted after the original nine.

If an auction had been held, Melton said he had wanted to give a portion of the proceeds to the Kentucky Sheriff’s Association’s Boys and Girls Ranch and a portion to the Explosive Ordnance Disposal Memorial Wall at Eglin Air Force Base in Florida, which bears the names of ordnance disposal technicians who have lost their lives.

Melton said Tuesday that he also wanted some of the proceeds to recoup the sheriff’s office for its expenses in the bourbon-theft investigation.

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