I covered the so-called Pappy Heist for Whisky Advocate and came away with five insights.

5. Big Brother is Watching Bourbon. During the press conference, Franklin County Sheriff Pat Melton said his staff tracked social media for clues. Given that this is an ongoing investigation, he didn’t share where or how his team canvased the CyberWebs. But given bourbon’s popularity, it should be assumed alcohol cops are always watching public forums.

The stolen Pappy at the Franklin County Sheriff's press conference.

The stolen Pappy at the Franklin County Sheriff’s press conference.

4. Others will Try This. I can’t remember who told me this. Maybe it was a cop or a “Burned Notice” episode: When big theft crimes receive a lot of attention, smarter and dumber criminals will attempt similar criminal behavior. Liquor stores have stuff stolen every day and always have; now, the media is covering it. I mean, this guy is getting attention for stealing Jim Beam Honey. Can we throw in extra charges for stealing flavored whiskey vs. something decent?

3. Bourbon Just Joined Wine. This Pappy case just joined famous wine counterfeiter cases as one of the most-interesting alcohol-related modern criminal stories. Of course, the $100,000 number in the Pappy case is paltry compared to the $20 million in wine.

2. Eager Prosecutors Want These Cases. I was very impressed with Assistant Franklin County prosecutor Zachary M. Becker, whose fresh beard couldn’t hide his youth. Because of this Pappy case, Becker will receive more national airtime than the Kentucky Attorney General. I’m sure Becker will serve the Commonwealth well, but attorneys across the state would likely love to switch places.

1. Justified nailed it. In my Whisky Advocate lede, I mentioned how the press conference felt like a scene right out of “Justified.” That TV series could not have nailed Kentucky any better! The press conference even had a lawman with a ponytail just like the Justified attorney.


Fred Minnick is the author of Bourbon Curious.