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Whiskey Woes: Buffalo Trace, Eagle Rare & Pappy Van Winkle Fear Shortages

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Photo by Caroll Wycoff on Flickr
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Chefs, cocktailians, and all other fans of brown spirits, brace yourselves: Several of Sazerac Company's distilleries -- including Buffalo Trace, Eagle Rare and Pappy Van Winkle -- announced Wednesday that they anticipate a bourbon shortage in the coming months. The small-batch distilleries are having trouble keeping up with the rapidly growing demand for their product, which might mean the shelves will be empty in the coming months.

Sure, there are smaller operations out there, but when you compare Buffalo Trace's 64,000 cases of whiskey production last year compared to Jack Daniel's 4.8 million, you can see why incremental growth is crucial. And the American whiskey category experienced a 5.2 percent increase in total production volume in 2012, and is expected to enjoy similar gains this year, according to research firm Technomic's 2013 SpiritsTAB report.

Says the Huffington Post:

To put that expansion in perspective, consider that straight American whiskey, a relatively small sub-category of spirits with 8.2 percent of the total spirits market, is experiencing a growth rate similar to vodka, Technomic reports. At about a third of the market share, vodka is the largest U.S. spirit category, and its production volume rose by 5.8 percent in 2012.
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This isn't the first time the market has feared a shortage. Back in December 2011, the growing upwardly mobile populations in Asian and South American markets drained the Scotch whisky supply. And earlier this year, Makers Mark decided to dilute their 90 proof whiskey to an 84 proof in order to meet demands. (Due to customer outrage, they have since changed that policy and went back to their original recipe.)

So hipsters, please steer clear of the whiskey and stick to driving up the price of Pabst. We need our Pappy back