Back in 2013, something really peculiar happened at the Buffalo Trace Distillery in Kentucky. Over 200 bottles of the super rare Pappy Van Winkle bourbon vanished into thin air. They call this the “Pappygate.” Now, it’s making its way to your screens on Netflix’s documentary, “Heist.” This bourbon is no ordinary sip, and it’s got a price tag that’ll make your eyes pop. Let’s dive into the story and find out what really happened.
The Legendary Pappy Van Winkle: The Pappy Van Winkle brand is a big deal in the world of bourbon. It got a mind-blowing 99 out of 100 from the Beverage Tasting Institute (BTI). A single bottle of Pappy Van Winkle’s Family Reserve Bourbon 23 Year Old can set you back at least $300! But hold on, there’s more. The distillery, you see, doesn’t make heaps of it. They craft only about 7,000 cases each year. That’s why folks are willing to drop thousands of dollars just to savor a drop of this exquisite bourbon, and some are even going to the black market to get their hands on it.
The Great Bourbon Hunt: When those precious Pappy bottles went missing, a $10,000 reward was up for grabs for anyone who could spill the beans on the thief. Suspicion pointed towards an inside job. The authorities had their hunches, and it didn’t take long to put the pieces together and make some arrests.
The Bourbon Burglars: Turns out, it was a whole gang of folks involved, about ten of them, to be precise. Gilbert “Toby” Curtsinger appeared to be leading the pack. When investigators turned up at Toby’s doorstep, they found barrels and bottles from various distilleries. But Toby wasn’t just into bourbon; he was also dabbling in steroids. Sadly, not all the missing Pappy was recovered; Toby had already sold a chunk of it by the time he got caught.
The Whiskey Whirlwind: Toby Curtsinger had a job at Buffalo Trace Distillery for years, and he didn’t just start thieving with Pappygate in 2013. No, he had a taste for it way back in 2003. There were barrels of bourbon that the distillery needed to get rid of, and his supervisor handed Toby the task. He told his boss to give him a “barrel pass,” so he could dispose of them properly. To his surprise, his boss agreed, and Toby ended up taking the barrels home to sell.
Over the years, Toby couldn’t resist helping himself to more. But he wasn’t going for the high-end stuff; he played it safe and swiped the medium-grade bourbon instead.
Toby Curtsinger’s Light Punishment: Despite the Pappygate scandal leading to charges against ten people, Toby Curtsinger was the only one who ended up behind bars. He was staring down the barrel of a 15-year prison sentence, but here’s the twist – he only spent 30 days in the slammer. That’s because of something called “shock probation.” This is a deal usually handed to first-time offenders who aren’t seen as a big threat to society. Offenders get a taste of prison life for a few months and are then let out on probation. In Toby’s case, one month was deemed enough.
When they were discussing shock probation in court, Zachary Becker, the prosecutor, didn’t put up a fight. He mentioned that there were far worse criminals out there who deserved the prison bed more than Toby. Toby’s attorney, Whitney Lawson, added that he’s learned his lesson.
Netflix’s “Heist”: Now, Toby Curtsinger’s side of the story is going to be laid bare in Netflix’s “Heist.” In the trailer for the series, he poses a tricky question, “If you had an opportunity to steal if you worked in a bank with a vault wide open and nobody seeing you, are you going to do it if you don’t get caught?” Quite a head-scratcher, isn’t it?
In Conclusion: So, there you have it – the Pappygate Bourbon Heist, a tale of stolen bourbon barrels, inside jobs, and a punishment that might make you raise an eyebrow. Now, you can tune in to Netflix’s “Heist” and get the full scoop on this extraordinary caper.