Led by Cult Bourbons, Distillers Dream of a ‘Napa-fication’ of Kentucky
In September 2014, a bourbon brand called Kentucky Owl began to appear on liquor-store shelves around Louisville. The American whiskey market was booming, and dozens of new bourbons were showing up each year. But Kentucky Owl was different. Released exclusively within the state in tiny quantities and produced by the scion of an old Kentucky whiskey family, it had an undeniable mystique — and a price tag of $170.
To skeptics, Kentucky Owl was proof that the whiskey trend had reached its Tulip Mania moment. At the time, few bourbons commanded even $50 at retail. Plus, the man behind the brand, Dixon Dedman, didn’t even make the whiskey himself; he bought barrels from other distilleries, then blended them. Surely the bubble was about to pop.
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