Spend any amount of time around whiskey superfans and you’ll quickly hear talk of “allocated bottles,” “allocated bourbon” or “the allocated market.” Many restaurants and bars have special menus for allocated whiskies, while some liquor stores and specialty retailers now list allocated selections separately.
What exactly is allocated bourbon? And why aren’t other spirits subject to the same treatment?
In one sense, “allocated” can serve as a synonym for “rare” or “hard to get.” For instance, unicorn bottles like Pappy Van Winkle and Blanton’s Straight From the Barrel are allocated, whereas regular Jim Beam and Jack Daniel’s are not. Literally, however, the word just means that each retailer, vendor or other point of sale has only been allocated a certain number of these especially desirable spirits to sell.