Buffalo Trace warns of Bourbon shortage

22nd May, 2013 by Becky Paskin

Buffalo Trace Distillery has warned of a Bourbon shortage as it struggles to keep up with demand for its products, but swears it won’t pull a Maker’s Mark stunt.

Buffalo Trace Distillery's small whisky barrels

Stocks of Bourbon from Buffalo Trace Distillery are not enough to meet soaring global demand

The Kentucky distillery, owned by drinks group Sazerac, announced today that consumers will soon find it difficult locating its brands on shelves as demand continues to outweigh supply.

It claimed the shortage would likely effect its most popular products, Buffalo Trace and Eagle Rare.

“This announcement is not meant as some sort of scare tactic to get people hoarding bourbon,” said Kris Comstock, Bourbon marketing director at Buffalo Trace. “We always want to be upfront with our fans. What this means is that there simply may be times when some of our brands are missing from store shelves.”

The announcement comes just months after Beam Inc attempted to reduce the abv of its Maker’s Mark Bourbon from 45% to 42% in an effort to make its diminishing stock go further.

However a public outcry from fans forced the company to back down from its decision, although Maker’s Mark would suffer from supply shortages.

“We won’t take drastic measures to mitigate the shortages, such as raising prices excessively, lowering the proof or reducing the age of our whiskies. We’ve made a commitment to quality that we’re not willing to compromise.”

Comstock added that the shortage would likely be temporary, as new barrels are coming of age, but may well last a few years.

“We just ask our fans to remember, aging good bourbon takes time, and we’re doing our best to keep up,” he said.

To help manage its stocks, Buffalo Trace is appointing a sales and inventory manager to oversee the balance of stock.

Buffalo Trace ages its Bourbon for eight to 10 years, although some older blends are aged for up to 23 years.

Sales of American straight whiskey grew by 5.2% in the US in 2012, according to a new report from Technomic.

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