Virginia ABC's Lottery Has Valuable Pappy Van Winkle Up For Grabs

The Virginia Alcoholic Beverage Control Authority (ABC) will be launching its statewide raffle for bottles of a trio of much-coveted Old Rip Van Winkle bourbon batches on Wednesday, February 15. Part of the Pappy Van Winkle line, the small batch bourbon is one of the rarest and most sought-after bottles in the world, often leading to exorbitant secondary market prices. Bottles of the six varieties of Pappy — which are sold under the Old Rip Van Winkle and Pappy Van Winkle names — sell for between $80 and $330 retail. However, due to their extremely limited quantities, they often sell for much more online. Elsewhere, bottles of the brand's top-shelf product, Pappy Van Winkle's Family Reserve 23-year, go for over $5,500, with older bottles demanding even more.

Despite critics from Business Insider and Forbes noting that the taste is often not worth the price it demands on the secondary market, a frenzy usually develops when the brand releases its annual distribution of bottles as people scramble to get their hands on one at MSRP. One of the best places to do this is Virginia because the state ABC controls liquor prices and is not allowed to gouge — as some private liquor stores will do with the limited number of bottles they're allotted.

The bottles being auctioned off for sale

Virginia's ABC operates 395 stores statewide that are allotted a select number of Pappy bottles each year. The state has chosen to sell those bottles via a lottery system since 2016. Winners are given the right to purchase a bottle for the distributor's price. In order to enter the online lottery, entrants need to be Virginia residents over 21, and winners will be asked to show photo ID when they come to purchase their bottle.

Tickets to win a chance to buy bottles of Pappy's three lower-tier bourbons will be available from February 15 to 19, 2023. A second lottery will then be held for a chance to purchase the higher-shelf varieties, with tickets available March 8 through 12. Currently, Virginia ABC has only announced the allotments for the first drawing. The first available bottles include 298 bottles of Old Rip Van Winkle 10-Year Bourbon selling for $80 each, 1,010 Van Winkle Special Reserve Bourbon 12-Year Bourbon selling for $90 each, and 96 bottles of $130 Van Winkle Family Reserve Rye 13 Year.

More information regarding the allotments of Pappy Van Winkle Family Reserve 15 Year, Pappy Van Winkle Family Reserve 20 Year, and the coveted $330 bottles of Pappy Van Winkle Family Reserve 23 Year will be available closer to the second raffle. It is likely that many of the bottles will be available at a much higher price online for non-Virginia customers by April.