UPDATE (1/3/17): Beam-Suntory, owner of Booker's and other Beam Brands spirits, late last year said it would double the price of Booker's this year. Now, it has announced a change of heart, no doubt in the face of a lot of bad press: "As we’ve previously shared, Booker’s Bourbon will experience supply constraints this year. As a result, we must reduce our batch releases to four per year. We apologize to anyone who is unable to locate the product in the future. Because of the rarity and high quality of this liquid, and our need to maintain our supply without sacrificing any production standards, we have decided to increase the price of Booker’s. We’ll be implementing the previously announced price increase over time, and in 2017 you can expect to see Booker’s on shelf for $69.99-$74.99."
(Originally published 12/14/16)
Consumer tip for 2017: If you pop into a liquor store to pick up a bottle of Booker's bourbon and find its price has been tremendously increased, request the merchant prove he didn't accept delivery in 2016.
Why? Because the parent company Beam Suntory has confirmed its rumored doubling of the price of Booker's, and reduction in output, for 2017. Its national suggested retail price, which is $59.99 right now, will be doubled.
Noted whiskey writer Fred Minnick reports on his website that "Beam also commented on other rumors. Baker’s is not going away, per a spokesperson. Old Grand-Dad 114’s fate is unknown at this time and the Booker’s price hike is not a 'part of a broader pricing strategy. It’s an isolated situation based on supply constraints and the value we place on the product'.”
So, as to the consumer tip above, be careful you don't pay a higher price for a bottle of Booker's that has been on the store shelf or storage room and didn't cost the merchant what the newer shipments will.
As to Beam Suntory's decision, it said Booker's has been undervalued and the pricing change rectifies that. At least it isn't claiming Booker's will taste twice as good because you're paying twice as much.
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