UPDATE: Looking for the 2020 Buffalo Trace Antique Collection? See this year’s update!
It’s that time of year again. Buffalo Trace Distillery just announced the release of the 2019 Buffalo Trace Antique Collection (BTAC). If you live in a control state like North Carolina, you’re probably laughing and crying at the same time because you think you think you’ll never get one. You’re probably right. Finding the BTAC in NC can seem like fools errand.
The 2019 Buffalo Trace Antique Collection contains 5 bourbons that will be nearly impossible to locate no matter where you live, let alone a state like North Carolina. Here’s what’s included in the collection:
- George T. Stagg
- Eagle Rare 17 Year
- William Larue Weller
- Sazerac Rye 18 Year
- Thomas H. Handy Sazerac
Keep reading if you’re still interested. Get your glass ready. We’ve got tasting notes below.
Why is BTAC so hard to find in NC?
Finding BTAC in North Carolina is no easy task. These seasonal bourbons are allocated to the state, who then in turns allocates them to local ABC Boards. Most of these boards will only get their hands on them if they request to be entered into a lottery. If they’re lucky, a local ABC Board might get a case. Maybe even just a bottle.
For the most part, you won’t find these sitting on a shelf at your local ABC store. You’ll need to show up at the right time, or even enter a local board’s own lottery for the opportunity to buy BTAC bourbon.
Finding BTAC in North Carolina
If you aren’t too discouraged, keep reading. Here are some tips for find the 2019 Buffalo Trace Antique Collection in North Carolina.
Buddy Up With Your Local ABC Board or Store
If you live in a more rural part of North Carolina, I encourage you to go make friends with the employees at your local ABC store. This probably won’t guarantee you a bottle from the BTAC, but you might be able to get the inside scoop on shipments and arrivals (if they are lucky enough to get one).
Enter Your Local ABC Board Special Packages Lottery
Many ABC boards host lotteries for BTAC bourbons and other special fall releases. You might even be able to enter one of these lotteries online.
How does this work? Your name will be put in hat with other bourbon enthusiasts for a drawing. Names are eventually drawn to select who gets priority. With your name drawn, you’ll be allowed to buy one bottle from their special packages. This gives everyone an equal opportunity to buy the rare bourbons from the Buffalo Trace Antique Collection.
Ask your ABC store when and how they are hosting a lottery.
Join A Local Facebook Group
Sometimes other friends in the community have connection outside the state or get lucky and stumble upon multiple bottles. If you have something worth trading, you might be able to barter for BTAC bottles. North Carolina has a few great groups for local areas. Join yours early and engage the community. Even if you don’t find BTAC in North Carolina, you’ll have a good time connecting with other bourbon lovers.
Keep An Eye on the NC ABC Warehouse Stock
Any liquor that’s sold in North Carolina passes through the NC Warehouses in Raleigh or Clayton. The stock is updated every 15 minutes on their website. If you track this, you might be able to see when the BTAC lands. This means that store will be getting it soon. Start checking in late September or early October.
Buy BTAC in NC Online
Unfortunately, this isn’t really a viable option. Unless you’re willing to spend 10x the retail price, you probably won’t be able to get the Buffalo Trace Antique Collection from online retailers. Especially not in NC. It can also be very expensive. If you insist on trying, look to retailers like Bounty Hunter.
More About the 2019 Buffalo Trace Antique Collection
The Buffalo Trace Antique Collection is one of the most highly anticipated bourbon releases of the year. It includes some special versions of drinks you like to sip on throughout the year.
2019 George T. Stagg
This year’s George T. Stagg isn’t quite as potent as previous years’ have been, ringing in at only 116.9 proof. Uncut and unfiltered, George T. Stagg is strong but smooth, aging at least 15 years before it gets bottled.
2019 Thomas H. Handy Sazerac
Aged 6 years. 125.7 proof. This whiskey is my personal unicorn. If I can find this bottle from the BTAC in NC I’ll be a happy man.
2019 William Larue Weller
This release in the Buffalo Trace Antique Collection is Barrel Proof and aged for 12.5 years (like the WL Wellers from the past couple years). It’s 128 (!) proof. Knock your socks off.
Eagle Rare 17 Year Old
Eagle Rare 10 year is maybe my favorite bottle to keep on the shelf, so I know the 17 Year Old promises great things. This bottle used to be released at 90 proof. But last year and this year they’ve upped it to 101 Proof.
Sazerac Rye 18 Year Old
I just recently added the Sazerac 6 Year rye to my shelf. If you love a high-rye bourbon, this Sazerac 18 will be the one you want to get your hands on. This is 90 proof and 18 years old.