Rare Whiskey Raffle Night

Selling alcohol as a profession is fun and it’s trying in equal measure. The fun is self-explanatory – selling, tasting and talking about whiskey all day is in many ways a dream job. But it’s trying too – because we live and die by our customer experience, and there’s nothing we hate more than saying the word “no”.

In recent years, there’s been shift in the spirits category that’s made us say that word more than we ever have before. And certainly more than we want to.

The information available to, and the level of education and knowledge of your average serious consumer about allocated and rare whiskey, combined with the trend towards premiumization has created supply shortages where none previously existed.

This is especially true in the American whiskey space where value propositions are still strong (10yr old bourbon for under $40?  Hello Henry McKenna 10yr) but stocks of well-aged, high proof whiskey – which was historically not a focus for producers, are hard to come by. 

At Gordon’s, this creates situations where customers go away empty handed (“You’d like a bottle of Pappy Rye?  Sorry, we sold out of that last November.”) or have to adjust their expectations (“Elijah Craig 18yr isn’t in stock but we do have the Barrel Proof bottling.”)

The solution is to increase our already sizeable allocation of these desirable products. Easy to say, but hard to do. We dream of seeing a case stack display of Old Forester Birthday Bourbon. But that’s outside the realm of possibility. That would be more than the entire allocation for the state of Massachusetts.

But the more product we sell, the larger our share of these allocations are. It’s not complicated math.

To continue to be a top-tier retailer in the spirits space, we’ve spent years focusing growth on our whiskey category, but with special emphasis on the portfolios of vendors who produce and distribute those desireable, allocated rareities.

It’s working, and along the way we realized something. Allocations aren’t just based on quantity sold. Special emphasis was given to those retailers that could move entire barrel quantities of certain products.  Want a larger Pappy allocation?  Buy a Buffalo Trace barrel.  Looking for more Woodford Reserve Master’s Collection?  Grab a barrel of Double Oaked.  At first (I’m talking about 7 -8years ago), this strategy was risky.  If the contents of the barrel didn’t sell because of high price or unproven consumer demand, we’d be sitting on large stocks of unsold inventory.

But we tried anyway, and our concerns were unfounded. The whiskey craze is growing without any signs of slowing down. And the single barrels we’ve been able to pick have been of both great quality and reasonably priced.

We’ve been selling through every drop of the private barrel whiskies we brought into the store.  It’s a winning scenario: our vendors are happy, we sell great whiskey literally by the barrel, our allocations steadily increase, and most importantly: our customers are happy. Both with the quality and value of the Private Barrels we spend so much time and effort sourcing, as well as the greater availability of items like Elijah Craig 23yr. 

But there’s never enough of the things we want the most to make everyone – especially those loyal customers that deserve it most – happy.

So we find ourselves in the fall of 2016 once again staring down the barrel (ha!) of a release season with too many customer requests to satisfy. Our goals haven’t changed: to secure higher allocations of items like the Buffalo Trace Antique Collection.  Our means to do that is also the same: increase our business with the vendors who can make that happen by moving more private barrel whiskey out our doors. 

With that in mind, we’re changing the way we dole out allocated whiskey. More than anything, we want to make this fair, and open. We can’t make everyone happy, but we can make as many people as possible happy with the way we release whiskey. We tried something similar last year with our Pappy allocation, and it worked out well.

We’re doing a raffle this year for our entire season of rare whiskies, from Pappy on down. And since selling our private barrels is what gets us these allocations in the first place, we’re making a direct connection between the amount of private barrel whiskey you buy from us to your share of the rare whiskey you directly helped us acquire.

Raffle Rules:

Beginning today, every bottle of Gordon’s Private Barrel whiskey that you buy will earn a raffle ticket.

Raffle tickets are entered  to win the right to purchase a bottle of whiskey you specify on the ticket.

The drawing will be held at our Rare Whiskey Raffle and Tasting, Dec. 10, 2-4pm at Gordon’s Downtown Crossing. 

Each Gordon’s Private Barrel Bottling will be worth 1, 2, or 3 raffle tickets, depending on its retail price.


The Details:

The Gordon’s Rare Whiskey Raffle and Tasting will take place on Dec. 10 from 2-4pm at our Downtown Crossing location, 39 Temple Place, Boston. 

The event will feature a free walk around tasting of some rare and interesting whiskies along with a drawing in which entrants can win the right to purchase limited whiskies from the 2016 release season. 

Raffle tickets can be earned by purchasing a Gordon’s Private Barrel Bottling. 

Each Private Barrel Bottling will be worth either 1, 2, or 3 tickets depending on its retail price

$30-$60 = 1 ticket

$61-$90 = 2 tickets

$91+ = 3 tickets

There is no limit on how many tickets can be earned and you do not have to be present to win. 

Ticket stubs must be turned in to any Gordon’s location by Dec. 9th but may be turned in as late as Dec. 10th at Gordon’s DTX.

Each rare whiskey will have its own drawing so participants can choose how to allocate their tickets according to the bottles they really want.

Lastly, raffle winners will be able to purchase their bottle(s) at a discounted rate.  We plan on selling these treats at the lowest prices in the country!


Provisional List of Allocated Whiskey

This list is subject to confirmation. Whiskey is not confirmed until we have posession of it.

Angel's Envy Cask Strength
Weller 12
Elmer T Lee
Parkers Heritage 24yr 
Orphan Barrel Whoop & Holler 
Orphan Barrel Rhetoric 22
Old Forester Birthday Bourbon 
Elijah Craig Barrel Proof 
Elijah Craig 18yr
Rebel Yell 10yr Single Barrel
Four Roses Limited Edition
Four Roses Elliot's Select
Lock Stock & Barrel 16yr
Michter's 10yr
Van Winkle 10yr 107
Van Winkle 12yr Lot B
Pappy Van Winkle 15yr
Pappy Van Winkle 20yr
Pappy Van Winkle 23yr
Antique Collection George T. Stagg
Antique Collection William Larue Weller
Antique Collection Thomas H. Hardy Sazerac Rye
Ardbeg 21yr 
Ardbeg Dark Cove
Ardbeg Auriverdes
Laphroaig 18yr
Laphroaig 25yr
Glen Grant 18yr (Scotch Whisky of the Year in 2017 Jim Murrays Whisky Bible)
Springbank Burgundy Cask
Springbank Green
Hibiki 17yr
Yamazaki 12yr
Hakushu 12yr
Privateer Queens Share
Privateer Double Pot Still
Privateer Origin Story