I’ve been a patron of the Virginia ABC stores since the day before I turned 21 (2nd Question). If you’re not familiar, ABC stores are generally state run liquor stores. For hard to find bottles, I generally have to make a run to DC or MD, where liquor stores are privatized. This is not very convenient for me, and rare bottles are generally expensive bottles, so I did not often venture out for booze. This all changed a few years ago when a buddy of mind was clerking for a judge in Alexandria. Said judge purchased bartons vodka by the crate (don’t know if the dude was an alcoholic, and its not particularly germane). He did this at Magruders in DC to save money. For example, a handle (1.75 l) of makers mark is about $62 at the VA ABC, but $54 at Magruders. Thats $8 in your pocket. I might spend that much on gas, so I generally try to stock up when I go. I also don’t usually buy makers (except for parties, as its often requested, and widely enjoyed), but I think Magruders uses it as a loss leader because its often on sale, and heavily discounted. A better current example is grey goose vodka. $69 at VA ABC, $45 at Magruders. Thats $24 bucks in savings. Magruders recently went through an ownership change. In the past, almost every bottle (handles always did, and still carry the best deals) was as good a deal as the grey goose is currently. Now, you have to pay a little more attention. Even so, on handles, I’d estimate that you’re saving an average of $9 a handle on top shelf liquor. If you need to stock your bar, or you’re having a big party, there is no better place to stock up than Magruders.
Another thing we learned from a judge in Alexandria, is that Very Old Barton is a very drinkable bourbon. At the time, despite being very much into bourbon, we hadn’t heard of it. When I first learned about it, I read that VOB was the number one selling bourbon in Kentucky. I can’t be sure if that was true, but here is a VOB sales accolade from THE expert. I was quite interested, and after giving it a try, I was very impressed. Here is a review that I basically agree with. To summarize, VOB is good, its not great, but for the price, it can’t be beat. My guests drink a lot of my bourbon, so having a good house bourbon is of the utmost importance to me. No one but the uninitiated turn up their nose at VOB, and even they quickly realize their mistake.
The worst part about the ownership change was the price change in Blanton’s. Shown above for $60, it used to be hover around $47. The other day, I was in Silver Spring for a meeting, and swung by on the way home. I noticed they were fully stocked with the 6 year expression of VOB, which may be being phased out in favor of a no-age-statement iteration. I stocked up… I also got another value bourbon to try out. I’ll let y’all know how it goes.This entry was posted in Brown Sauce by rsiv with no comments yet