'It's insane': Inside the all-night campout for Pappy Van Winkle bourbon

Wednesday, 15 November 2017, 04:18:50 AM. But on the thick grassy lawn adjacent to the store, a small tent city has arisen, and some 15 souls (with more on the way) are ready to spend the night, with a generator, beer and cigars to warm and/or amuse them through the long hours to come -- all in hopes to grab a bottle of Pappy Van Winkle, a select, rare and highly collectable variety of bourbon.
TUSCALOOSA -- Bourbon whiskey is as American as baseball and twice as pretty. And when people really find a bourbon they like, they will do some incredible, nonsensical things. It's Sunday, Nov. 12. 6 p.m. I'm at ABC liquor store #238 at 1120 Lurleen Wallace Boulevard. The store is closed. It won't be open for another 15 hours. But on the thick grassy lawn adjacent to the store, a small tent city has arisen, and some 15 souls (with more on the way) are ready to spend the night, with a generator, beer and cigars to warm and/or amuse them through the long hours to come -- all in hopes to grab a bottle of Pappy Van Winkle, a select, rare and highly collectable variety of bourbon. "You gotta be ready to spend the night," said Jacob Carson, who has been waiting in line since 10 a.m. with his spunky four-month-old schnauzer pup Sammy. "For sure." Carson is No. 9 on a list kept in a handsome leather volume, a measure to ensure some civility to what could otherwise be a savage affair for the aficionados who have one -- and only one -- chance this year to buy Van Winkle bourbon before it hits the secondary (and illegal) market at hundreds or even thousands of dollars a bottle. "Lots of people don't know about it, so it's like a secret," said Carson, who chose the "homey" Tuscaloosa location over Birmingham-area stores that he said tend to discourage camping out. He is ready for the night with his dog, his tent and a way to both cook chili and make coffee. Store #238 opens at 9 a.m. In...Read more
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