Man Accused of Selling Fake Pappy Van Winkle Bottles Abroad
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Man Accused of Selling Counterfeit Pappy Van Winkle Bourbon Overseas Charged Hefty Fine

Pappy Van Winkle

A California man was charged for filling Pappy Van Winkle bottles with an unknown substance and reselling them overseas. (Photo: Buffalo Trace)

A California man was fined $36,268.75 in restitution fees after being accused of purchasing empty Pappy Van Winkle bottles, filling them with “a foreign substance,” sealing them and reselling them overseas, according to WDRB.

Sandeep Minhas was charged with purchasing the empty Pappy bottles on eBay prior to refilling and selling them through auction houses in the United Kingdom between May 2018 and February 2019, according to the Courier Journal. He is alleged to have shipped 10 parcels to three different companies.

The court ordered Minhas to pay back all of the money he earned from the shipments and place him on diversion for a period of two years. Minhas is scheduled to appear in court in August to ensure he is acting in compliance.

More on Pappy Van Winkle

Pappy Van Winkle

A bottle of Pappy Van Winkle, 12-year-old aged bourbon is shown at Seven Grand, a whiskey bar downtown Los Angeles Saturday, March 4, 2023. (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes)

Pappy Van Winkle is considered a “unicorn” whiskey, per Wine Enthusiast.

Whiskeys from the brand easily sell for thousands of dollars on secondary markets. Van Winkle has a remarkable cult following, including among celebrity chefs like the late Anthony Bourdain, Sean Brock and David Chang, according to Food Republic. Pappy Van Winkle whiskey made its debut within the retail space in 1994 with the 20-year expression. In the 1990s, bottles were available for under $100.

The whiskey’s popularity rose in the late 2000s and has continued to skyrocket. A theft of Pappy Van Winkle bourbon was covered in the 2021 Netflix release, “Heist.”

Pappy Van Winkle is owned by Buffalo Trace and has expressions that range from 10 to 23-year age statements.

Some attribute the brand’s success in becoming a household name due to an episode of Anthony Bourdain’s “The Layover” where Bourdain was quoted as saying the following:

“If God made Bourbon, this is what he’d make.”

In December, a bottle of Pappy Van Winkle sold for $52,500 at an auction.

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Cynthia Mersten is a writer/editor for Whiskey Raiders and has worked in the Beverage Industry for eight years. She started her career in wine and spirits distribution and sold brands like Four Roses, High West and Compass Box to a variety of bars and restaurants in the city she calls home: Los Angeles. Cynthia is a lover of all things related to wine, spirits and story and holds a BA from UCLA’s School of Theatre, Film and Television. Besides writing, her favorite pastimes are photography and watching movies with her husband.