Good bourbon has become more difficult to find (and more expensive) with every passing year. What's a bourbon head to do? Check the liquor aisle at Trader Joe's, maybe.
As recently spotted on the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau's (TTB) label registry feed, Trader Joe's forthcoming Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey is bottled at barrel proof — and Buffalo Trace is named in the brewer section.
However exciting, keen readers might question the validity of Buffalo Trace — a distillery that can't keep its product on shelves at seemingly any price — selling its stocks to a grocery store for private label sale. It's a fair point, and why the whiskey inside these bottles is likely produced at Buffalo Trace's cousin-distillery Barton in Bardstown, Kentucky. Also owned by Sazerac, Barton produces all 1792 brand whiskeys and a number of smaller brands like Thomas S. Moore and Very Old Barton.
What's more, we know Barton whiskey is making its way into other grocery stores, after the news that Costco's in-store Kirkland brand will be sourced from Barton as well, per The Whiskey Wash. And though the Buffalo Trace Distillery in Frankfort, Kentucky is specifically named, the application later reads: "PRINCIPAL PLACE OF BUSINESS USED IN LIEU OF BOTTLING LOCATION..." Considering we're already reading the tea leaves to an extent, we're guessing it's not Buffalo Trace Distillery hooch inside the bottles.
If you're unfamiliar, the TTB is, among other duties, responsible for regulating liquor labeling, and every new and redesigned label must first earn its approval before the whiskey is sold. This means every whiskey maker must apply for approval months in advance to a bottle's eventual release period, and applications are publicly available through its site.
So we don't know exactly when these bottles will hit shelves — but we do know they're coming to Trader Joe's, which sells spirits in every state a grocer is permitted to, sometime soon. Given the store's penchant for low prices, we can safely assume this barrel-proof bourbon will be a solid deal.