Customers turn out in DROVES for distillery’s ‘oopsie’ bargain bourbon in Kettering

***UPDATE (Oct. 11, 2019)***

Bourbon enthusiasts turned out in large numbers this morning for a special limited-release bourbon event and ribbon-cutting at Kettering Wine & Spirits in Kettering.

Steve Fortener of Dayton was the first to arrive, at 5:30 a.m., for the release of Jefferson’s Reserve Single-Barrel cask strength bourbon and Jefferson’s Ocean Voyage bourbon, which was sold at a discounted price due to a distillery mistake.

“I decided to come early, because I knew there would be a lot of people here,” Fortener said while standing at the front of a line that stretched a few hundred feet and wound around the Fairmont Plaza retail center. The crowd easily exceeded 100, and appeared to be closer to 200.

Here are photos of the line, the bourbons, and the store, which is located at 1218 E. Stroop Road, next to Elsa’s Kettering Sports Bar.


The ribbon-cutting that preceded the bourbon release included representatives of the Ohio Department of Commerce Division of Liquor Control, Jobs Ohio, Kettering city staff and Kettering City Council.

**ORIGINAL STORY (Oct. 10, 2019)***

A distillery’s mistake will allow a modest number of bourbon lovers to get what might be the best price in the country on a limited-release bourbon happening today at a Kettering state-agency liquor store that is celebrating its grand opening.

>> NEW TODAY: Once a rare breed, Thai restaurants are now surging on the local dining scene

Last week, the Ohio Division of Liquor Control announced that one of its special single-cask bourbon releases would happen today, Oct. 11, at only eight state-agency liquor stores across the state, including the brand new Kettering Wine & Spirits store in the Fairmont Plaza in Kettering, which is hosting a ribbon-cutting and grand opening with liquor-control officials this morning.

>> Competition crowns 'Best Chef in Dayton' — and this time, it's unanimous


That special release was scheduled to include 54 bottles at each store of a Jefferson's distillery "Ocean Voyage Cask Strength," a special bottling of bourbon that had been sent out to sea to pick up some accelerated aging time and oak influences as the precious liquid sloshed around inside their charred barrels on the rolling ocean. "Each voyage of Jefferson's Ocean typically crosses the equator four times, visits five continents and over 30 ports on an average sailing," the Jefferson's distillery says on its web site.

>> The Inn at Versailles forced to write new chapter in its storied history after fire

But “because of a production error,” Liquor Control Superintendent Jim Canepa said in an email, the distillery inadvertently “proofed down” (or diluted slightly) the bourbon selected for Ohio release to 90 proof (45 percent alcohol) from its original cask strength of somewhere in the neighborhood of 112 proof (56 percent alcohol).

So starting at 9 a.m., the “discounted” bourbon will go on sale at Kettering Wine &  Spirits, the new 8,200-square-foot store located at 1218 E. Stroop Road in the Fairmont Shopping Plaza next to Elsa’s Kettering Sports Grill. Customers were lined up early this morning.

>> Photos of the historic Inn at Versailles through the years

Canepa had some fun with the mistake in his email, which opened with, “I hate when someone puts ice in my bourbon ... because it waters it down too much.”

But Canepa also knew he had promised Ohioans cask-strength Ocean, not lower-proof Ocean, and believe  me, bourbon enthusiasts would have noticed that switcharoo in about a millisecond, and they would NOT have been happy.

>> PHOTOS: Did we spot you at Minster Oktoberfest?

What to do? We’ll let Canepa pick up the story from there:

"That error became an opportunity for me to get more for our consumers. So, not only is Jefferson's going to make good on giving us the two Ocean Voyage 17 Cask Strength single barrels in the coming weeks, the supplier agreed to drop the price on the two barrels they proofed down. Consumers can expect to pay $50.24 for the Ocean Voyage 17 instead of the original listing of $74.98 on Friday when this release hits stores."

That’s a pretty attractive 33 percent discount for a slightly less-strong bourbon, and a quick Google search confirms that the $50 price tag for any Jefferson’s “Ocean” product is much less than what most folks are paying elsewhere for any Ocean bottling, whether it’s “proofed down” or not.

>> Local café vandalized, customer injured by rock thrown through window

>> Arrow Wine & Spirits breaks ground in Mason on its third store (August 2019)

Buyers may be able to thank Canepa personally for their bargain bourbon. He and some other representatives of the Ohio Division of Liquor Control are scheduled to attend the 8:30 a.m. ribbon-cutting and grand opening event.

>> PHOTOS: Did we spot you at the Weekend of Fire at Jungle Jim's

Those who miss out on one of the 54 bottles of Ocean may be able to snag the other Jefferson’s product scheduled for release at the same time: The Jefferson’s Reserve single-barrel bourbon, which will sell for $49.99 a bottle. There will be twice as many bottles, 108, of the Jefferson’s Reserve available,  division officials said.

About the Author