The OLCC wants you to take some rare liquor off their hands.
On Oct. 4, six participating Oregon residents will be randomly awarded the opportunity to purchase a limited edition bottle of 101 proof, 12-years-aged, Old Forester Birthday Bourbon.
This public lottery, the first of its kind in state history, expands the potential audience for an exceedingly-rare vintage well beyond the collectors market or well-connected liquor store regulars to drinkers throughout the state of legal age and necessary resources—winners of the raffle must still buy the bottle at a cost estimated around $100.
"We have 272 liquor stores and often don't get enough product for every single one," says Matthew Van Sickle, Alcohol Program Public Affairs Director for the Oregon Liquor Control Commission. "Some of these [bottles] are really, really collectible—and, sometimes, there's a black market where they auction off for hundreds of times the actual shelf value. So, we came up with this idea to have a public drawing."
Although an additional supply of the Birthday Bourbon will be available at various state-owned outlets, the distillery earmarks the majority to stores that sell the most Old Forester—typically, retail locations that themselves sell to restaurants and bars.
"The distributors have their own methodology," Van Sickle says. "We can't change too much about that model, but what we can control is any extra supply. If they're allocating 60 percent, then we have 40 percent we can distribute in a fair way to people who have sold this product in the past and the stores who have historically good sales when it comes to that particular brand. What that means, though, is that the extra bottles often end up in Portland because it has the highest population center."
As a trial program, continuing the lottery system requires a certain degree of participation to ensure people actually want the opportunity to drink down one of these rarefied tipples.
"We have to get at least six people," Van Sickle jokes. "We have to have a truly good representation all over the state—not just Portland—to see that this truly works for Oregon."
To register for your chance, keep an eye on the OLCC's designated page here.