To Help Keep a Restaurant Afloat, Veteran Buys a 25-Year Old Rip Van Winkle Bottle for $40K

The donor paid twice the asking price to help his Tampa neighbors

Old Rip Van Winkle
To help a restaurant, a $17K Old Van Winkle bottle was purchased for twice the amount.

An unnamed veteran has kept a Florida restaurant group afloat by buying a 25-year bottle of Old Rip Van Winkle bourbon.

According to CNN, Datz Restaurant Group was facing hardships due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. The Tampa-based company had closed its restaurants and was forced to lay off all but 27 of their 400 employees. In a last-ditch effort to stay afloat, owners Suzanne and Roger Perry decided to sell the most valuable item in their inventory — the most sought-after and hard-to-get bourbon in the country.

The veteran (who wished to remain anonymous but has been described as “low key” and a philanthropist), paid by cashier’s check and actually more than doubled the $17,000 asking price, writing out an amount of $40,000.

“I was so moved by that,” Suzanne Perry told CNN. “It was really touching someone would reach so far into their own pocket to help us survive this.”


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(A different sample of the 25-Year release, above)

According to Buffalo Trace Distillery, the 25 Year Old was a limited release in 2017. It’s described as an “extra special, one-time bottling of Van Winkle bourbon … only 11 barrels comprise this very small batch bourbon, making the 710 bottles especially rare and even harder to find than the usual Van Winkle whiskeys.”

The Perrys will continue to run their restaurants for takeout and delivery and now have enough to pay employees for an extra four weeks, while also providing meals for healthcare workers and first responders. They also promise to help out their anonymous donor’s causes when their business recovers.

Meanwhile, if you’re looking to help and you’re a rare whiskey fan, we suggest looking out for charity auctions, like the one that the aptly-named site Whiskey.Auction is running through today. (Or, if you just want the booze, we found it on Drizly for $17K.)

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