Vintage Bourbon Shops Raided by Kentucky State Agency

It's a high-profile raid in the vintage whiskey community

Bourbon glass
Just how vintage is that vintage bourbon you bought?
Phil Cruz/Unsplash

There’s a vibrant market these days in vintage spirits, whether you’re measuring that age in decades or centuries. File that under “good news” for collectors, spirits aficionados and booze historians alike. But there’s also one big caveat that comes to mind when buying a rare bottle of bourbon, rum or some other spirit — there’s a risk that the bottle you’re buying might not be what it purports to be.

Counterfeit bottles of bourbon are, unfortunately, still a source of concern for many in the whiskey community. The latest evidence of this comes from Kentucky, where the state’s Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control raided two locations of Justins’ House of Bourbon earlier this week.

As the Lexington Herald-Ledger reports, the state has released some information about the raids, though it hasn’t provided details on every aspect of it. Notably, the state was responding to complaints “alleging several violations associated with Justins’ House of Bourbon for the improper acquisition, possession, transport, and sale of bourbon, including Vintage Distilled Spirits.”

The agency took “[n]umerous bottles of bourbon and other items of evidence” into custody as a result.

Spirits journalist Fred Minnick cited comments from Kristin Voskuhl of the Kentucky Public Protection Cabinet, who noted that the state ABC does not need a warrant for such searches and “may confiscate any contraband property.” That’s a result of a 2021 statute that gives “[s]tate administrators and all investigators” the same powers as police officers.

As for next steps, one of the owners of the raided store, Justin Thompson, did not comment to the Herald-Ledger. “At this moment all I will say is our license is active and we will be in business,” Thompson said. “We won’t have any more comment until the investigation process is complete.”


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