Bourbon Enthusiasts Feel the Love From an Unexpected Source

There is no truth to the rumor that the Ohio Division of Liquor Control will soon change its name to the Ohio Division of Bourbon Appreciation.

But there are days when that almost seems possible.

The state agency responsible for the regulation and control of spiritous liquor in Ohio has, out of nowhere, begun to show an aficionado’s appreciation for fine and rare spirits under the division’s “new sheriff in town,” Superintendent Jim Canepa.

The liquor-control division launched a series of raffles and lottery-style drawings over the past year to ensure that some of America’s rarest and most sought-after bourbons find their way into the homes of Ohio’s bourbon enthusiasts – without a road trip or an expensive third-party transaction.

The pace of these special offers and events is accelerating, and liquor-control officials say they’ll branch out beyond bourbon to other rare spirits through 2019.

Here’s a wee dram of what Canepa and the division of liquor control have sold via a raffle or lottery system at suggested retail prices (which are much lower than secondary black-market prices) over the past year: Russell’s Reserve 2002, Four Roses 130th Anniversary, Old Forester Birthday, New Riff Single-Barrel, and yes, even the full line of Pappy Van Winkle bourbons, including the Holy Grail of Bourbons, the Pappy Van Winkle’s Family Reserve 23-Year ($260).

Canepa has waxed eloquent about his team’s visits to bourbon distilleries, where barrels are tasted and selected to bottle and bring back to the Buckeye state.

Now does that sound like your grandfather’s division of liquor control?

Stay up-to-date on the ODLC’s bourbon raffles, lotteries and other special events by signing up for the division’s “OHLQ Insider’s Bulletin” on the agency’s web site,, and by “Liking” TheWineBuzz Facebook page, at

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