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Rare bourbon stolen from Kentucky distillery

One of the rarest and most sought-after bourbon's produced in Kentucky is missing.

Franklin County Sheriff Pat Melton said someone swiped about 65 cases of 20-year-old Pappy Van Winkle bourbon in what appears to be an inside job from a secure area at Buffalo Trace Distillery's Frankfort operations.

Pappy Van Winkle bourbon.
Source: Pappy Van Winkle
Pappy Van Winkle bourbon.

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Melton told The Courier-Journal whoever stole the bourbon walked off with about $26,000 of the limited stock. That's about $25,350 in three-bottle cases of 20-year-old Pappy and about $675 in nine cases of 13-year-old Van Winkle Family Reserve rye.

Pappy has achieved cult status among bourbon aficionados in recent years and is difficult to find in stores because of its popularity.

Melton told the Lexington Herald-Leader the bourbon retails for about $130 a bottle and is worth "$300 or $400 a bottle" on the secondary market.

(Read more: 10 things you didn't know about Kentucky and bourbon)

"This is the mac daddy," said Melton, who doesn't drink bourbon but is well aware of Pappy's cachet.

Spokesmen for the Buffalo Trace and the Van Winkle office did not return calls seeking comment.

Pappy is one of the nation's most sought-after bourbons, with a reported production of only about 7,000 cases a year at Buffalo Trace for the Old Rip Van Winkle Distillery. The bourbon is aged 20 years and bottled at 90.4 proof.

(Read more: A bourbon lover's Holy Grail: The bourbon trail)

Melton said there have been previous theft reports from Buffalo Trace, but not many.

"Their internal controls are pretty good," he said, "and that's why it's been very, very rare for it to happen."

By The Associated Press

Contact Food and Beverage

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