If you've been into bourbon for any amount of time, the term "tater" is probably one that you're familiar with or have at least heard. If not, you should hone up on your skills and test How Good is Your Bourbonspeak. Taters, for those unfamiliar with the term are not spuds like you'd buy at your local grocery store, but rather an individual who in a number of ways epitomizes the current hyped up bourbon culture. These are the folks who run out to the local liquor store when a particular bottling seems to be getting some press and buys up a case or everything the store has in hopes of re-selling it. This isn't the only "tater" move out there, but this is the main thing that demands such a label.
Reselling bottles onto Secondary Bourbon Markets is a pretty common occurrence in all reality. Sure, it's not completely on the up and up given how impressively limiting liquor laws are and then there's the shipping of bottles through the mail or package carriers which isn't always above board either, but it's been relatively surprising to me how much negativity is directed towards people who buy up good bourbon and sell it for a profit. There's a lot of frustration in the bourbon community around bourbon flippers, and for those who work in the liquor business at stores that are bombarded by folks seemingly endlessly asking "do you have any Blanton's in the back?" that frustration is well placed. For the average Joe however to simply be mad that they can't get hands on a very limited run of bottle x, y or z seems a bit unfounded and frankly unamerican.
Last I checked we live in a capitalistic society, and as such goods such as a bottle of bourbon fluctuate in price according to market demand. If something is limited, or rare and highly sought after, it will demand a premium. It's no different than when I was a kid and neon everything was in style. I recall trading some valuable baseball cards for some neon shoelaces. One kid had the corner on the market and could basically name his price, there was no Amazon back in the day...or computers for that matter, so it wasn't like I could press a couple buttons and they'd show up...I was also seven. Did I hate him for it...no, he had what I wanted, and I paid what the market was commanding at the time. I got my shoelaces, which looked pretty damn good, and he got some nice baseball cards. Am I going to throw shade at someone for flipping bottles and making some money off of it? Nah...I do think that folks can be jealous of that person's connections however, which allows them to even land some of those sought-after bottles.
If you're concerned about flippers driving prices up, you shouldn't be...they're not the ones driving the pricing...take a look in the mirror. Demand far outpaces supply, inflation is still a thing (surprise, not transitory and MSRP continues to climb lock step) and as long as bourbon is a hot commodity and pappy is still a baller bottle then they'll still fetch thousands of dollars at times to the right buyer who wants to have that bottle sitting on a shelf as a sign of status.
In the spirt of New Year's Resolutions how about we dial back slamming glass after glass of haterade and pop by your local liquor store and grab something that's likely just as good, if not better than many of these bottles that folks are getting their panties in a wad about and pop it open and share with some of your good friends, neighbors, etc. I just picked up a nice bottle of Woodford Double Oaked yesterday, it's always delicious and I can have 70 more of these bottles for the same price I'd pay for a Pappy 23 right now. Just sayin'.
Buying From the Secondary?
If you're going to purchase something from the secondary bourbon market, and are willing to drop the coin to do so, how do you know what to reasonably expect to pay? We've taken the guesswork out of it with the completely free Bourbon Blue Book, developed by a Certified Bourbon Professional it catalogues thousands of sales points providing you with an average cost and a low and high that have recently been seen for over a thousand different bottles.