2017 BTAC Release Map

Please Read: Each state is highlighted when one bottle is reported in that state. There’s a good chance that means that store, and a lot of times that city, is already sold out. This map isn’t an official release tracker from Buffalo Trace. This is a network of bourbon drinkers looking to help each other. Stores are dealing with smaller allocations and greatly increased demand. Please be understanding of this fact. Happy Hunting!

Love it or hate it, bourbon season is here. It’s time for the 5th annual Bourbon Buffalo Trace Antique Collection Release Map! If you’re unfamiliar with the map, here’s how it works. I highlight each state when the antique collection is released in that state. Remember, distribution can be tricky. Because it was released in part of the state doesn’t mean you’ve missed out. The release map is another tool to help in your BTAC hunt.

For more info and to find other bourbon hunters join the Bourbonr Facebook group. I’ve also added the city which was reported if you hover over each state. If you’re  new and still trying to get your feet wet check out my post “How to Hunt Bourbon” This is a community-driven map. If you find a bottle please shoot me an email at Blake @ Bourbonr.com. Make sure to include your state as well as a picture of the bottle. I welcome any tips about state releases as well (Especially Florida 🙂 )!

Here are some things I understand about the map. Not everyone likes it or finds it helpful. It’s not perfect. Flippers may use the map. It may not find a bottle of Stagg for you. I get it. This is another tool to help you with your bourbon hunt. Bourbon hunting is more difficult than it four years ago. I still believe the release maps provide useful information. And, I enjoy the community that they help build. Because of that, I continue to, dedicate time to them every fall. With that said, Happy Hunting!

Release Dates:

10/4 – The first bottles of Buffalo Trace Antique Collection hit the market in North Carolina and Wisconsin. The hunt is on!

10/5 – Buffalo Trace Antique Collection hit Georgia (but not Atlanta yet)

10/10 – Two new additions to the map, Kentucky (not the major retailers like Liquor Barn and Party Source yet) and North Dakota

10/13 – BTAC arrives in Montana

10/17 – Atlanta

10/18 – Buffalo Trace Antique collection hits Oklahoma. BTAC spotted at a bar in Nebraska

10/19 –  Buffalo Trace hits a few states: Kansas,  Pennsylvania (Announced its lottery) and Alaska



    I would like to call it right now – I will be left looking like Blake when he had his first sip of 17 Handy at the end of this hunt (confused, a bit surprised, sad, and sweaty)! <—– I have to set expectations low or I will be disappointed when I strike out.

    Who knows what they’ll actually do with it… it goes the Cherry street store first where the main distribution is done. It’ll never hit the shelves… They’ll either do the email lottery thing or randomly put it behind the counter where the managers friend will just ‘happen to stop by’.

    Concerning local store lotto’s, I’ve heard “you can’t apply to the lotto list unless you reside in county of same store” to “I don’t even know if we’re getting any so I’m not even taking names for now since we haven’t received nothing we requested in past five years” to “I’m tired of being pestered about it all the time and am thinking of not even requesting any for good since it’s more trouble than it’s worth”. This is probably why the one time state lotto draw would be the best and fairest way all around.

    My prior post ended up being false. I asked 2 different employees at ABC for Buffalo Trace Antique Collection, but I guess all they heard was ‘buffalo trace’! On the 29th they did have Buffalo Trace regular, but not BTAC. Will go hunting again this week.

    Hey Blake, I saw you tweet those sample bottles…without divulging tasting notes, which one should I be after…the Stagg or the Weller?

    Good for you dude. Try to show little respect for the Weller and Stagg fans. Because if you look at the reviews they’re almost ALWAYS higher rated than the Handy.

    did you get an email? because they have not released information about that yet? last year was october 24th and never count on the plcb to be consistent

    Yes, seems to be running a couple weeks behind this year. The press release was two weeks behind so I guess it makes sense.

    GTS, Saz 18, and THH purchased in NC today. State sent out shipments to local boards this week, trucks in the Piedmont arrived this morning.

    Can confirm it is in Asheville, NC. Just sent an email to Blake. Picked up a bottle of GTS for $89 plus tax. First BTAC bottle I’ve ever found, very excited.

    I spoke with the guy again and it’s confirmed. It was in some small town in the northern part of the state. Could be a slip up by the distributor. But, this is a case where the map helps because you know it’s in distribution. It probably won’t be that much longer until the major cities get it.

    Y’all are lucky. No such thing as a “hunt” anymore in VA. Anything worth hunting ends up in the lottery system. Ridiculous. They need to throw it out on the shelf and let those of us who are serious about whiskey track it down….sucks.

    A lottery isn’t the worst. Not everyone has the time, money, and friends to be able to bourbon hunt. Just like what’s been said in articles on this site, it’s time consuming and exhausting and for what, a mediocre limited release. I’m just as serious as the next guy about bourbon, but I can’t put it above my god, my family and my job.

    Nice logic. Anyone that cares more, or puts in more effort, than holier than thou michael must be putting bourbon above their God, family and job. Defeatist loser.

    Right on Michael! I feel you on that comment! I have a great time connecting with people in the bourbon world as well as hunting for the unicorns, but all things kept in perspective with priorities in check!

    Can you expand on this a little more regarding ND? Happy Harry’s, the state’s largest liquor store with five locations, hasn’t announced their bourbon lottery yet.

    I am not sure I would believe instagram. I know the GM of HH’s and am on the lottery lists for the two largest liquor stores in Fargo, neither of which have announced anything yet.

    Found Birthday bourbon the other day, sent a friend to buy for me and they charged $329!!! Needless to say I’m returning it. Good grief!

    That’s ridiculous that they mark it up that much. I bought one from a retail store and only paid 97 and some change. That’s a huge mark up

    Been making calls to my usual NY places (both NYC and upstate). No updates on when BTAC will be released, so I’m assuming late November as usual. Anyone heard differently for NY?

    A store upstate told me it would be the usual time, might be delayed until early December. If I hear anymore I’ll pass it along

    Only stores that Trace drew lotto for are getting one case (3 bottles) each of Stag or Weller’s here in N.E. Carolina, from what I see and I’m told they are already spoken for preferred customers to my dismay. No Sazerac, Handy or Eagle’s Rare as of yet from what I noted. Best bet for desperate peeps will be in strict lotto draw states if you know someone who lives there and will put in for you, but it seems the few bottles are going to be extremely limited, more so than Pappy’s even. Congrats to the favorite fortunate that obtained any here. Maybe other stores that also put in requests will obtain the other three brands that didn’t make it in this area as of yet, but whats the use. Maybe it’s a different story in larger populated areas.

    It’s great to see posts from people here from different states scoring at retail prices. Maybe there’s hope after all that things are beginning to stabilize in the bourbon market. Many thanx to Bourbonr blog for supporting the bourbonr community.

    I was offered a Thomas h handy by a small retailer for $500 in South Florida. Seems like some places have gotten different varieties of the antique.

    It must have hit the Indy area. One retailer held a lottery today for Van Winkles, BTAC and other rare bourbons. Another has posted pictures of bottles received.

    Any ideas on when these typically land in Arizona (I’m in Phoenix area). Most stores I talked to about said they usually backroom it, so I’m not sure I’ll see it anyway.

    Showed up at the right time & place and got a Handy 17 in Northern KY mom and pop store. $129. They sold 2 Staggs same day/shipment. Half dozen cars following the delivery truck one store to the next…

    On I was visiting Kentucky last weekend. On Oct 14, 2017 the Liquor Barn in Louisville East, KY. recieved 50 bottles of AC (30 GTS, 12 or so WLW and 3 or so of the ER 17, TH) I was told by their spirit guy the same afternoon there. Lottery was set up at the door for the people who showed up and 1 bottle of Kentucky Owl 11 y/o was opened and sold by the dram at cost to those waiting in line who were interested in trying it (a very nice gesture of the managers at LB). I missed it while attending a Willett tour at noon, where the gift store just got 2 cases of a 9 y/o rye. They were selling it 2 bottles per visitor. Earlier that morning they had 13 y/o bourbon , but sold out by 11:00 AM. Heaven Hill Visitors Center had ( on my way to Willett) ECBP 1 per visitor. Well, you miss some, you get some. I’m happy with 2 Willett ryes and 1 ECBP. It was my B-Day!

    Usually IL gets it fairly early on – 2nd or 3rd week in October – but I haven’t seen or heard anything yet, and I’ll be getting a call about it when it does.

    Any intel you gentleman can share on snagging a bottle in IL? Will the neighborhood liquor stores even get an allocation or am I better showing at Binny’s on day of release? Much appreciated.


    Binny’s holds for preferred customers these days. If you’re not already one, start building the relationship now for next year.

    Binny’s is getting them next week Friday. They’re getting it to their distribution this week so that means late next week. Plus the head guy at Binny’s is in KY and there’s no way it’ll drop when he’s gone.

    Just talked to a place that said they were told not until November or December. Anyone else heard that? It’s the first time I’ve spoken to anyone and gotten a response other than, “I’ll know when it shows up on the truck.”

    I’m near Tulsa…we drove over today and the shop we stopped in was selling WLW for 400 and GTS for 300. Wish we could find it for closer to retail!

    PA statewide allotment is pretty scarce for the reported number of bottles being released, (Weller, Stagg and Handy especially). I’m not holding my breath. I have yet to win any of the PA drawings.

    Sazerac Rye 18 Year, 90 Proof: 39 bottles including 30 for individual consumers and 9 for licensees
    Eagle Rare 17 Year 90 Proof: 69 bottles including 52 for individual consumers and 17 for licensees
    George T. Stagg 129.2 Proof: 165 bottles including 124 for individual consumers and 41 for licensees
    William L. Weller 128.2 Proof: 192 bottles including 144 for individual consumers and 48 for licensees
    Thomas H. Handy 127.2 Proof: 407 bottles including 306 for individual consumers and 101 for licensees

    According to the significant increase in the estimated number of bottles for 2017 BTAC GTS and WLW, what are your thoughts on why the PA availability of those bottles for 2017 remain stagnant? Are they going to bars and restaurants? Has anyone heard any rumors? Thanks.

    I saw a sazerac rep carry a case of Stag to a store in Alpharetta. Store owner wouldn’t sell it to me even though he said he would last week when I bought some sazarac rye

    Just got the Total Wine email for the Grand Reserve members. They will sell it online through their concierge program. One bottle per person & you must choose from the PVW or Antique Collection with local store pick up. No word of how many bottles of each.

    Also just saw the price list. Looks like no PVW Rye as an option:

    Products Being Offered

    Old Rip Van Winkle 10 Year – $94.97
    Van Winkle Special Reserve 12 Year – $109.97
    Pappy Van Winkle’s Family Reserve 15 Year – $159.97
    Pappy Van Winkle’s Family Reserve 20 Year – $249.97
    Pappy Van Winkle’s Family Reserve 23 Year – $429.97

    Thomas H. Handy Sazerac – $124.97
    Sazerac Rye 18 Year – $124.97
    George T. Stagg – $124.97
    Eagle Rare 17 Year – $124.97
    William Larue Weller – $124.97

    Supposedly, it wouldn’t be the same anyway, even if it was released. The previous iterations of VW Rye were supposedly tanked 19 yo stuff, which ran out last year – foil hat wearers say last years batch starting with a “Z” (after being A-F/G or something before) also signifies this.

    Got the same email. It is one bottle of PVW OR one bottle of BTAC. Last year was 1 bottle of 10, 12 or 13 VW and 1 bottle of PVW 15, 20 or 23 and a separate email for 1 bottle of BTAC.

    Total Wine in CT gouged this year for Birthday, charging $150. Very surprising. In terms of BTAC, I got serious about finding them three years ago to see just why they cause such a fuss. Three years later, I’ve tried them and own all the bourbons. Three years wiser, I’m now of the following informed opinion: WLW and GTS are very high quality, but frankly, they are NOT orders of magnitude better than say Eagle Rare 10 yr or EHT Small Batch, or similar. I’ve done blind taste testing with very many bourbon people who salivate over BTAC and Pappy, and swear they taste like no other. Guess what? The “special bottles” ranked no higher in anyone’s list than the $30 – $40 ER and EHT. No appreciable difference, and certainly not 3x or 5x (or even 2x) better to justify the drama and price. It’s infectious too. Even the various bloggers who do their own taste tests – they will say a particular “special bottle” drinks hot this year, is cinnamon heavy, slightly unbalanced, or whatever and still give these “special bottles” an A-. If that juice came in a bottle labeled “Ancient Age” they wouldn’t dream of giving it an A- for fear of being perceived as not knowing good bourbon. My two cents – don’t believe the hype and let your taste buds, via blind tasting, guide you.

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