Reward spurs Pappy Van Winkle tips

$10K offered for information in Buffalo Trace bourbon theft

By Kristina Belcher, Published:

The Franklin County Sheriff’s Office received about 10 tips overnight — many of them from out of state — after announcing a reward Monday in the Pappy Van Winkle bourbon heist, a spokesperson said.

Sheriff Pat Melton said a tipster could now receive $10,000 for information leading to an arrest and conviction in the case.

Melton said $1,000 of the reward money is coming from Bluegrass Crime Stoppers. The other $9,000 is coming from an undisclosed donor.

“We’re just trying to bring Pappy home,” Melton said Monday during a news conference.

The reward was first announced to Buffalo Trace employees last week.

Authorities originally said the theft of the 65 cases of Pappy Van Winkle’s Family Reserve 20 Year and nine cases of Van Winkle Family Reserve Rye was being investigated as an inside job. The bourbon was worth
an estimated $26,000.

Melton said his office has interviewed about 100 employees at Buffalo Trace, which produces Pappy Van Winkle, but is not naming any people of interest.

“Detectives have worked diligently on this case,” Melton said. 

“I think $10,000 with Christmas in about three weeks is very, very significant.”

Bardstown High School Principal Chris Pickett was recently cleared as a person of interest after he was identified on surveillance video at an Elizabethtown liquor store.

Authorities said Pickett offered to sell the store manager a large quantity of Pappy Van Winkle, but Pickett’s attorney, Doug Hubbard, said his client was speaking about his private collection of the rare bourbon and wanted to buy more.

Anyone with information on the case is asked to contact the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office at 502-875-8740 or using Text-A-Tip at 502-320-3306.

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  • 74 cases of liquor stolen and no one sees them do it? Really? How do you sneak out 74 cases of liquor? Something here smells and its not the mash cooking at Buffalo Trace.

  • I've said it before, but I doubt any bourbon was stolen.  It may be missing, and will turn up soon...and there will be no reward money handed out.

  • ~"~Bardstown High School Principal Chris Pickett was recently cleared as a person of interest after he was identified on surveillance video at an Elizabethtown liquor store."

    PERSON of interest with TV coverge and all that. The Sherriff will be fortunate if Mr. Pickett does not seek $$$$$$ restoration of his name.  Since he has been "cleared" as a suspect he will now be able to engage an attorney who whill reuqire more inforation as to  just how the local sherriff got a lead all the way to  Etown  & BARDSTOWN.

    And why did  Pat Melton ALLOW the person of interest have such high news covetage?


  • Let me get this straight.

    Twenty thousand dollars of "pappy" has been stolen and Pat Melton wants some else to find a lead for him.

    The reward moeny is half the cost of items stolen. Who put up the extra monwy from Crime Stoppers? The sensationalism of Sherriff Pat Melton making such an announcent got Sherriff Melton on TV, the Lexington Herald, State Journal.

    It's election time, expect to see more of Pat Melton. I sure hope voters are able to see this as it is.



  • Press Release Pat to the rescue!

  • The Sheriff is having a bit of trouble here solving a theft where the perps don't arrest themselves.

  • @user_35555

    You are joking I hope?

  • Hey! It's Sheriff Melton! I was beginning to forget what he looked like. I'm so glad he is out in front at all times fighting for the little guy and keeping us all safe from the criminals.