Buffalo Trace, as it ramps up to release its annual coveted offerings of the Van Winkle and Antique Collection whiskeys, is once again warning about those who are using increasingly sophisticated tactics to create fraudulent offerings that appear as the distillery’s whiskeys but are, in fact, not.
In the last year, according to distillery officials, consumers have been duped by online sellers of Blanton’s and Double Eagle Very Rare, with buyers receiving no bottles after payment, or sometimes empty bottles, or in the case of Blanton’s, fake empty bottles with plastic horses on top instead of the signature metal horse stopper collectors know and love.
In August, an “astute label printer” in Ohio contacted Buffalo Trace Distillery after being contacted by a new client to produce Weller Bourbon labels. Sensing something was amiss, the printer contacted the distillery to verify, which led to legal action against the third party wanting the labels printed.
The Distillery has also been made aware of unscrupulous characters setting up fake domains and purchasing credit card machines to make it seem as if Buffalo Trace Distillery is conducting bottle sale transactions online.
For the record, noted Buffalo Trace, it does not sell its alcohol products online.
Interestingly as well, when Buffalo Trace opened its October tour bookings, all tours for the month were booked within seconds, with one group claiming nearly 500 tour spots under various different email addresses. Through Buffalo Trace’s online tour reservation system, the bad actor was found out quickly and the tours were freed up for other fans. The tours were going to be sold by the third party, even though all tours and tastings at Buffalo Trace remain complimentary.
Buffalo Trace said it has invested nearly $3 million in legal fees in the past five years to get online whiskey sellers shut down, and the bad actors charged.