Panic Ontario, The Bourbon Shortage is Really Here

Update: Maker's Mark 46 availability has updated based on the latest information. 

Bourbon buyers in Ontario have always had their secrets. When rare products appeared on shelves (Elmer T. Lee back in the day, W.L. Weller 12 today), Ontario whisky buyers snatched them up quickly. Good bourbon options in Ontario are, however, disappearing. We can’t even blame the LCBO on this one. The demand for bourbon in the United States is delisting many favourite bourbons from international sales.

On the list of cheap whiskies likely to go, Four Roses Bourbon ($26.95) is rumoured to be disappearing from international sales. It’s already on allocation (low resources) in British Columbia. We are likely to get the occasional delivery of Four Roses Single Barrel, but they promise to sell-out fast (if this round of Four Roses Single Barrel is any indication).

Perhaps more surprising (and more certain), Maker’s Mark 46 ($58.45) will not be a regular on LCBO shelves, and instead trickle in when supplies allow. What you see today, might be all you get. Maker’s Mark regular bourbon will continue to be on shelves, though it’s priced significantly more in Canada compared to the US (at around $25 US vs $45.45 Canadian). 

On the Buffalo Trace Distillery side, Buffalo Trace Straight Bourbon has been at risk for the past year. Blanton’s Original Single Barrel ($64.90) might be on its last shipment. Blanton’s Special Reserve is expected to return in the fall, but it’s lower proof (40% ABV vs 46.5% ABV) and priced at $59.95. There’s plenty of uncertainty around Eagle 10 Rare’s return, which often makes its appearance on LCBO shelves in the fall. That’s not going to be the case this year.

As one company insider told me, Straight American Bourbon is likely to become as exclusive as Single Malt Scotch in international markets. This is something we’ve theorized about a few times on The Whisky Topic Podcast. That’s a bleak outlook.

For now, if you’re a fan of any of the above drinks, buy them before they’re gone. Have any other regular releases that might depart the LCBO? Leave a comment.