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Oakridge B.C. Liquor Store’s Premium Spirit Release a success despite heavy rain

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Thirsty customers waited hours through heavy rain for a chance to get their hands on some high-end alcohol as part of the B.C. Liquor Store’s Premium Spirit Release.

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Director of purchasing for the B.C. Liquor Store’s Premium Spirit Release Bill Michael stands by his product. Photo by Patrick Colvin.

“This is our ninth year, we started out in three stores and this year it’s in 33,” said director of purchasing Bill Michael. The flagship store at 39th Avenue and Cambie Street had the largest stash of premium spirits.

Enthusiasts waited up to 24-hours in the rain

“There was a guy out here from 8:30 a.m. in the morning from Washington,” said Michael.  “He was looking for a bourbon that was hard to get.”

That customer was Greg, who wouldn’t provide his last name because he was skipping work to be at the event.  Even with 24-hours straight of  heavy rain, Greg was happy to wait if it meant getting his favourite bottle.

“When I found out there was only 15 bottles of what I was looking for, I knew I had to commit to being here early,” he said.

Flagship store offered $16,800 bottle of whiskey 

The event was first-come first-served with the rarer spirits having a one bottle-purchasing limit.   The prices ranged from the Teeling Whiskey Company’s $50 bottle of Poitin to a $16,800 bottle of 50-year-old Highland Park whiskey.

“The bourbons are outstanding, some of the scotches are unique and hard to get a hold of and the Courvoisier we have is one of only 50 bottles made in the world,” said Michael.  “It’s very elite —that’s the gift for people who want to have what everyone else doesn’t.”

David Wolowidnyk has been looking for those hard-to-find rare spirits for years, and doesn’t miss the annual release. “I come down every year, and every year it’s been a good event. I get to choose what I like.”

People come down earlier every year just to be at the front of the line, said Wolowidnyk. “The allocation of some bottles is so small that in order to get the pick of the litter, you have to be here early.” This is true, even in the rain.

Reported by Patrick Colvin and Dana Bowen

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