Tips pour in about huge Pappy Van Winkle bourbon heist after Kentucky cops offer reward


Authorities are taking a fresh look at the October theft of nearly $26,000 worth of one of the world's rarest and most prized bourbon whiskeys after receiving dozens of tips in the investigation.

The Franklin County, Ky., sheriff's office on Monday announced a $10,000 reward for information leading to an arrest and conviction in the October disappearance of two types of whiskey from Buffalo Trace Distillery in Frankfort, Ky. — most of which was the distillery's world-class Pappy Van Winkle 20-Year Reserve bourbon.

Investigators got about 30 tips from all over the country overnight.

"Ten thousand dollars is a great motivator, especially with Christmas right around the corner," Sheriff Pat Melton said.

Pappy Van Winkle starts at a retail price of $200 a bottle, but is often hard to find, as the bourbon has won multiple international competitions deeming it the "world's finest."

And Buffalo Trace distills Pappy Van Winkle in very limited releases, aged for a varying number of years.

About 230 bottles in total went missing from the distillery on Oct. 15: Sixty-five cases containing an average of three bottles each of the 20-Year Reserve bourbon, and nine cases of a 13-year-old rye. 

The 20-Year Reserve was valued at $25,350 based on a wholesale price of $130 per bottle, and the less coveted rye, with a wholesale value of $25, was valued at $675.

Tips from as far as Maryland have come in since officials announced the reward yesterday. There are no suspects or persons of interest, but investigators believe the theft may have been an inside job. 

"Where the bourbon was located, it was restricted access," Melton said. "But we're looking at everything."

More than 100 Buffalo Trace Distillery employees have been interviewed as part of the investigation, officials said. The sheriff's office notified the employees about the reward a week before the public found out about it.

"We're making progress and I think ultimately we'll be successful," Melton said.

NBC News' M. Alex Johnson contributed to this report.

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