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’Tis the season for ‘unicorn’ whiskey in Utah

(Photo courtesy of Suntory Whisky) Yamazaki Single Malt 18-year is one of the whiskys available as part of a rare-liquor drawing in Utah.

In Utah, fall is the time for pumpkins, sweaters and a chance to buy a “unicorn” whiskey.

On Wednesday, the Utah Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control launched the state’s latest Rare High Demand Product drawing. It includes three hard-to-get whiskeys:

• Yamazaki 18-year Single Malt for $350 per bottle (15 available).

• E.H. Taylor 18-year Marriage for $70 per bottle (five available).

• Old Fitzgerald 13-year at $130 per bottle (10 available).

The drawings are only held a few times each year, usually in the fall, said DABC spokesman Terry Wood. “It’s the time of year when distilleries release their top products.”

The limited distribution means these “unicorn” products typically have high price tags, at least in other states. But in Utah — where state law sets a firm 88% markup on all wine and spirits — consumers can actually nab bottles for much less.

Residents who want a chance to buy the rare liquor have one week to register for the drawing at abc.utah.gov. Once the drawing closes on Oct. 14, a computer will randomly select the winners.

Participants must be 21 or older and must first create a profile on the DABC website that includes an email, birthdate and the last four digits of either their Utah driver license, passport, military or work ID.

Consumers will have to show the identification when they buy the bottle at the state-run liquor store they listed at the time of registration.

Those selected will be notified by email. Only one bottle can be purchased per address, and reselling the product is prohibited under state law.

Only Utahns and those in the active military in the state can put their name in the drawing. DABC employees may not participate; neither can restaurants, bars or other businesses with state liquor licenses.

Wood said the drawing is not considered a lottery — those are illegal in Utah — because customers are not being asked to pay money to participate. It’s similar to the hunting permit drawings offered through the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources.

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