Eat It, Virginia


The 11,000 reasons you may see long lines at Virginia ABC stores on Saturday

Posted at 1:50 PM, Nov 19, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-19 14:21:41-05

RICHMOND, Va. -- Taylor, Craig, and Weller might sound like a law firm or perhaps the heartthrob stars of a new Netflix series.

But this weekend Taylor, Craig, and Weller are some of the collectible bourbons for sale at Virginia ABC stores across the state.

All 395 Virginia ABC stores will have between 24 and 30 bottles (around 11,000 bottles statewide) stocked for sale when stores open for businesses on Saturday, November 20.

Typically these coveted bourbons are sold via lottery, but this year, like last year, it's first come, first served.

Chris Garland plans to be first in line.

The Mechanicsville man, who runs an Instagram page dedicated to bourbon, said he hoped to stake his spot between midnight and 2 a.m.

"If you're looking for something you really want, you come up with a plan," Garland said. "The plan so far is to get there as early as possible."

Garland would not disclose outside which store he planned to set up camp but would share he had his eye on George T. Stagg Bourbon.

Garland said he'd previously camped out for 24 hours in order to ensure he was not shut out of beer released from Richmond breweries like The Veil.

"We're so limited in Virginia on being able to get bottles worth drinking because they're rare or valuable for trading," he explained as to why he'd stay out in the cold all night for a shot to buy a bottle of bourbon. "Dress warmly. It's going to be cold tonight."

Not everyone is a fan of the new collectible bourbon distribution method.

Mac McCormack, whose Big Whisky Grill restaurants serve a wide array of bourbon, would like to see the return of the lottery system.

"I think it creates a fairer situation," he said. "People who are at work can't stand in line. People who are out of town can't stand in line. People who come to Virginia from out of state can stand in line."

McCormack, who owns three restaurants, said he does not mind losing a lottery but does not plan on standing in line on Saturday.

"It's a very insulting day for me," he said.

McCormack, who said he does not plan to wait in line overnight, said if given the chance, he would have purchased the E H Taylor Jr Barrel Proof Bourbon.

Virginia ABC spokesperson Taylor Thornberg said she expected all the collectible bourbons to sell out on Saturday.

The bottles will sell out in minutes at some of the busier stores, she said.

Last year, with fewer bottles available, stores in less populated areas had bottles for several hours.

"The rural stores are going to be the honey holes," Garland agreed.

Not every store is going to get every bottle and brand of collectible bourbon.

Which bottles will be available on which stores will be announced online.

There is a limit of one bottle per customer.

"We encourage everyone to be respectful of each other and store employees while waiting in line on Saturday," Thornberg said.

"If there are more customers in line in front of you than available special release products, there is no reason to continue to wait in line unless you plan to buy other products," a message on the Virginia ABC website read.

Here's a list of what will be available on Saturday:

Collectible Bourbon Release: November 20

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