The History of Private Barrel Selections | 1972 Old Fitzgerald | Joe Wilson


May 15, 2022


Fred sits down with Joe Wilson, curator of the Whisky Auctioneer site, and discusses the history of private barrel selections and the state of American whiskey in auctions. 

In past auctions, Michter’s and WhistlePig releases have been going head-to-head with Pappy Van Winkle, the most sought after bourbon in the contemporary sense. 

They also taste a couple rare gems distilled at Stitzel-Weller in the 1950s and 1960s.

An Industry On The Rocks

The 1970s and 1980s were a difficult time for almost everybody involved in the whiskey business. A period of overproduction in the 1970s, coupled with a younger demographic’s changing tastes in alcohol delivered an (almost) fatal blow to the whiskey industry. Many distilleries were shut down for good, and the industry was left grasping at straws.

Even for names such as Van Winkle, it was no different. Faced with a surplus of product, Julian Van Winkle Jr. turned to various marketing ploys to try and sell bottles from ‘tacky’ commemorative decanters to hand-written personalized labels. Like many industries, a quick and easy solution to this problem was to sell in bulk. And for the whiskey industry, this meant to sell whiskey by the barrel.

Read more about this auction and the history of private barrel picks in Inside Hook

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