There are two undeniable facts in the bourbon world: 1. Pappy Van Winkle is about as good as it gets; 2. Finding a bottle is about as easy as getting into Fort Knox.
But thanks to a Menlo Park, California-based Pappy fan, Fact No. 2 may soon be a thing of the past.
Kyle Buza has created the first-ever application for iPhones to track Pappy Van Winkle wherever it is being sold. He’s calling it the Pappy Tracker, and it scours the country for Pappy, monitoring Twitter, Instagram and other social media. (It is not currently available for Droid, but he is working on another version.)
Buza says he created the app after realizing how hard it was getting to find a bottle—especially in California. “It’s pretty impossible to find it here. All the bottles are spoken for,” he says, adding that in some cases stores can be a bit shady about availability. “In some cases, people just flat-out lie to you about when it's coming out. And there are stories where people tell you they don't have it, but then you have someone else go in and ask in a different way and they give you a bottle. It's so frustrating, that whole process.”
With Pappy Tracker, you can skip the exhausting process of calling liquor stores constantly to find out availability. Now, whenever people talk about it on social media (or post pictures), you have an instant pipeline to where bottles are available. After that, it’s as easy as finding a friend or family member who lives near the area to score you a bottle or two (some stores will not sell over the phone, especially not with the ultra-rare Pappy).
Buza has been a bourbon fan for the last three years, and has been able to find only eight bottles of PVW over that time span. “My brother and I have been dreading this time of year, because it’s so hard to find,” he says, even though he doesn’t consider Pappy the best bourbon around. “I would rank it as No. 3 on my list. I can’t say it’s the greatest thing ever, but it’s still worth the effort.”
Depending on the success of the app, Buza may soon add other bourbons to the tracker—and rename it Bourbon Tracker.
Find the app at pappytracker.com. Happy hunting!