The newyorker produced counterfeit bottles of Pappy Van Winkle bourbon, which sold for $1,500 last year.
This is the first successful prosecution for counterfeit Van Winkle bourbon to date, according to a news release from Buffalo Trace Distillery, which owns the brand and brought the legal action. Sentencing in this case will take place in January 2018.
The company also said it has spent more than $500,000 to the last year to try to curb the sale of counterfeit bottles on secondary markets, such as Craigslist.
"Sadly, the Van Winkle bourbons are the latest victim of counterfeiting where innocent consumers are duped," Mark Brown, president and CEO Buffalo Trace Distillery said. "Avoid buying any bourbon or whiskey, especially the highly sought-after ones, from anyone in the secondary market, which includes online private sellers, or in these social media groups that claim to offer genuine products."
The release said scam artists have been operating in a variety of ways, some of which include taking empty Van Winkle bottles and refilling them with a variety of other liquids — sometimes cheaper bourbons.
To prevent from getting ripped off please follow these rules as provided on the Bourbon Exchange
- Don't deal with strangers. Joe next door is probably cool. Joe on Craigslist not so much.
- Ask for proof of purchase.
- Look for a laser code, which is etched on the side of real bottles.
- Check the cap. Legitimate empty bottles are often used but if the cap "looks wrinkled, crooked or just off it’s probably because the guy refilled the bottle and put the foil cap on in his garage with a heat gun or hairdryer."