What The 'BIN' Acronym Means When Purchasing Whiskey Online

The shadowy world of whiskey collecting is a little bit like a secret society, filled with code words like "BIN," "LEs," or "HAZMAT" (via Punch). These terms litter the comments section of the Wild West of Whiskey: Facebook. No, not the parts of Facebook where you can learn a new conspiracy or buy a used sofa. Private sales of alcohol on Facebook were banned in 2019, according to CNBC, but there is a thriving secondary whiskey and bourbon market run through Facebook groups, where the foolhardy amateur collectors Punch dubs "taters" chase elusive bottles. The largest of these groups, Bourbon Secondary Market, racked up 55,000 members before being shut down (via Gear Patrol).

Rare bottles of whiskey or bourbon like Blanton's Single-Barrel Bourbon, or "dusties," as VinePair calls them, can quickly multiply in price on the secondary market due to their tendency to disappear from stores before your average Joe even thinks to go looking. Pappy Van Winkle, the holy grail of rare bourbon collectors known simply as "Pappy," is also a frequent target of these kinds of secondary sourcing. According to Wine Enthusiast, a $249 bottle of Pappy can go for $2,000 on the black market, and it's gotten to the point where it doesn't even matter if you drink it, as long as it's sitting on your shelf in plain view.

If you are interested in hunting rare bottles, however, there are some crucial terms you'll need to keep an eye out for that will make or break your bourbon bargaining.

'BIN' is secondary whiskey market slang

"Flippers," or people who buy from the primary market (liquor stores) and sell on the secondary market (Facebook), will often post photos of their haul of new purchases and wait for interested parties to drop a bid (per Whisky Advocate). These bottles of "brown water" sell fast and high, often before the sellers make it home from the distributor where they've scored their bounty. If you're already getting overloaded on lingo, that's the point. Undercover whiskey collectors avoid being shut down by using coded language to prevent snitches from spying a covert sale.

One sales term you might see is "BIN," which stands for "Buy It Now." The first person to comment on a seller's post using the acronym is effectively calling dibs on the bottle (via Punch). But it's also kind of an inside joke among members of the community. According to VinePair, jokesters will often comment "BIN" on items that are clearly not for sale, such as extremely rare bottles or family heirlooms, or worthless whiskeys with no resale value. 

If you spy this phrase, it means the whiskey you're looking at is unavailable or undesirable, and probably below board. Either way, it's better to steer clear.