Ten years ago, no one imagined that bar snobs would eagerly pay upwards of $100 for an ounce of whiskey, or that a loosely organized crime syndicate would steal $100,000 worth of it in 2013.
But with the $2.9 billion bourbon industry facing critical shortages, NBC News reports that connoisseurs are going to increasingly wild lengths to get their hands on the most coveted prize of all: Pappy Van Winkle.
Pappy's devoted fans camp out in front of liquor stores for days and pay hundreds of dollars to charity raffles for the chance at winning a bottle. With demand far exceeding supply, theft and counterfeit have crept into the market too.
Chris Brantley, creator of a Pappy-centric website, told NBC News his first taste of the Family Reserve 20-year bourbon "blew everything else out of the water."