Heaven Hill tells BourbonBlog.com that Elijah Craig 18-Year-Old Single Barrel Bourbon will be back on shelves during this season of Fall 2015 after a three year hiatus due to inventory shortages. While you may remember how good it felt to pay $50-$70 only in 2012, get ready for the new suggested retail price of $120 for a 750 ml bottle.
To the many connoisseurs who’ve awaited the chance to pour Elijah 18 again, the price may not matter. A quick search on Google reveals that Bourbon “flippers” and some licensed online stores have taken advantage of the shortage and marked up one bottle of Elijah 18 to the $350 – $500 range Of course, we are unsure how many bottles have successfully been sold at those prices.
Around 15,000 total 750ml bottles of Elijah Craig 18-Year-Old Single Barrel are being released this fall, packed in a three bottle cases. These will be available in most major metro markets nationwide on an allocated basis. The face of the new label has been slightly altered in design and echoes teh same Elijah Craig typographic treatment as others in the Elijah family.
We reported in May of 2012 that the Elijah Craig 20 was replacing the 18-Year-Old with what Heaven Hill called a “temporary suspension” of the 18. Since 2012, other age expressions including Elijah Craig 23 and Elijah Craig 21 have been released in limited quantities.
History of Elijah Craig 18
Elijah Craig 18-Year-Old Single Barrel was first introduced by Heaven Hill in 1994, and quickly gained a fan following and garnered numerous awards with super-premium Bourbon offerings were few and far between. Heaven Hill says that as demand for the rare and older whiskey grew, along with growing demand for Heaven Hill’s other super-premium Bourbons, there were simply not enough 18-year-old barrels that met the Master Distiller’s strict quality standards, so the bottling was discontinued in 2012.
Since then, stocks have come back into line, allowing Elijah Craig 18-Year-Old Single Barrel to again be offered on a limited basis.
Heaven Hill says that the 18 was a victim of its own success as it was furloughed just as the high-end Bourbon market exploded.
Justification for Higher Price Point
As the popularity and demand for Bourbon both rise, BourbonBlog.com believes it important to question pricing on both new and existing whiskeys. One reason that Bourbon and American whiskey have grown to the popularity we see today can be attributed to the affordable prices for their flavor and quality. This is especially true as compared to other whiskeys and spirits internationally.
If you were finding Elijah Craig 18-Year-Old around $50 in 2012, we believe you were getting a great bargain then for the age and quality. Most connoisseurs we have spoken with and who’ve craved the return of 18 have agreed.
We asked Josh Hafer, Communications Manager at Heaven Hill Distilleries, Inc. for a comment from Heaven Hill on the new pricing:
“This is certainly a different market now than it even was in 2012. We’ve seen a dramatic change in the premium and ultra premium market. As a result we’ve seen products from brands released at various prices. Certainly these aren’t always justified for the contents in the package.
Elijah Craig 18-Year-Old is a product ripe to return to market and now the pricing is consistent with an 18-year-old single barrel product.”
The Future for Elijah Craig 18-Year-Old
Hafer tells BourbonBlog.com that future annual releases in the foreseeable future will be fairly consistent with the 15,000 bottle mark and likely “not any larger” than this 2015 release.
Additional Bottles 23 Year Old Being Released Now
Heaven Hill says they the rerelease of Elijah Craig 18 coincides with the re-release a limited number of bottles of of Elijah Craig 23-Year-Old Single Barrel, which has been bottled, also in limited quantities, since 2013 at $199.
The number of bottles of this release will be less than the allotment of Elijah Craig 18.
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