Would you pay $2K for a bottle of bourbon? Here’s your chance.

The Ohio Division of Liquor Control is offering a bottle lottery for the chance to purchase any of three bottles of bourbon at retail price ranging from $2,000 to $2,400. FILE



Ohio’s “bottle lottery” system of selling rare and sought-after bourbons and other spirits takes a huge leap into the big leagues next week, when the Ohio Division of Liquor Control will accept applications for the right to purchase one of three standard-sized bottles of luxury bourbons that will cost between $2,000 and $2,400 for a standard-sized bottle.

Well, the bottles themselves might be pretty fancy, but they’ll still hold no more than 750 milliliters of the precious spiritous nectar. And remember, in this case, “winning the lottery” means obtaining the right to purchase the $2,000 wines with your own cold, hard cash.

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There will be plenty of people applying for the right to do just that, for a variety of reasons. Some covet the precious contents of the bottles and want to share them with friends and family — their best friends and closest family, that is. Others just might have a financial motive: Some of the bourbons that the state will be selling at “regular” suggested retail prices are listed for sale on the secondary market in other states for $7,500 to as much as $20,000.

The Division of Liquor Control states that the bottles they sell “are for personal use, not for resale.” Ohio has a strict set of laws regarding the sale of spiritous liquor within its borders, although enforcing those laws in the age of the internet poses challenges.

The bourbons for which entries will be accepted starting at 12:01 a.m. on Monday, Oct. 19 until11:59 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 23, include:

• Double Eagle Very Rare, $2,000

• Old Fashioned Copper (O.F.C.) from the Buffalo Trace distillery, $2,400.98

• Woodford Reserve Baccarat, $2,127.65

We turned to Joseph Head — co-owner of The Century Bar in downtown Dayton, which has won national accolades as one of the best bourbon bars in the country — for a bit of perspective on the bottle lottery and its three prize bourbons.

“This is a sign of the times,” Head said. “Are any of these bottles worth the money? No. But you can hardly blame the distilleries. This is a direct result of the secondary bourbon market. Distilleries sell bottles for $100, and people are selling them immediately for three or four times what they paid. At the end of the day, there are far better ways to spend $2,000 on bourbon.

“I mean, for $2000, I could buy a lot of Wild Turkey 101.”

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When we posed the question to an “Ohio Bourbon Lovers” Facebook group, however, there was considerable enthusiasm for the idea.

“I will enter and happily buy them,” one member of the Facebook group commented. “They’ll get opened on a special occasion such as a wedding or birth of a grandchild.”

“I’m putting in for the Double Eagle Very Rare. It’s literally the only chance in my lifetime to ever own one,” another bourbon enthusiast wrote.

But the enthusiasm was not unanimous.

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“I will not be entering because I could not afford to pay that much for bourbon,” another commenter said. “I know they are very rare, I may never get another chance to purchase them, and are worth up to 10 times that amount on the secondary market, but I cannot justify spending that much on a bottle right now.”

Other bottle-lottery opportunities will come along for products that cost less. In fact, there is a bottle lottery going on this week that offers the opportunity to purchase a couple of bourbons that cost “only” $250, and one for $100. Entries for that bottle lottery must be submitted before midnight Friday night, Oct. 16.

Each Ohio Division of Liquor Control bottle lottery is limited to one entry per person. Winners of the current round of bourbon lotteries will be notified in early November. Winners must purchase their bottle by Nov. 23, 2020 or risk forfeiting the ability to purchase. For details, go to liqagency.com.ohio.gov/bottlelottery.aspx.

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