Prestigious UWS retailer Acker Wines embroiled in counterfeit bourbon scandal

This was some whiskey business.

A high-brow Upper West Side wine and spirits shop was outed this week for hawking a counterfeit bottle of coveted Kentucky bourbon.

Even worse: it was only mediocre whiskey, according to one national expert.

Acker Wines on West 72nd Street touts itself as America’s “oldest and most respected wine shop” with a history that dates back to 1820 and is celebrated for its rare wine auctions.

But the shop’s reputation was called into question this week after investigators purchased from Acker Wines a “nearly” $1,000 bottle of Colonel E.H. Taylor Four Grain bourbon, in an expose by Inside Edition

The Inside Edition team sent the bottle to the whiskey’s producer, the Buffalo Trace Distillery in Kentucky, where the shoddy packaging raised several red flags while “a chemical analysis didn’t match their product.”

Acker Wines sells a bottle of Colonel E.H. Taylor Four Grain bourbon for "nearly" $1,000, according to Inside Edition.
Acker Wines sells a bottle of Colonel E.H. Taylor Four Grain bourbon for “nearly” $1,000, according to Inside Edition.
Kevin C. Downs

Bourbon expert Lew Bryson, author of “Whiskey Master Class” and “Tasting Whiskey,” was surprised by the low-brow nature of the scandal for such a prestigious retailer. He called it a “mid-tier counterfeit” in the spirits world.

“Sounds like they were going for volume rather than prestige,” Bryson told the Post. “Taylor Four Grain is not really one of the big-market items.”      

Acker Wines said it was aware of possible fake bourbon bottles and removed all the bottles from its shelves, according to ILoveTheUpperWestSide.
Acker Wines said it was aware of possible fake bourbon bottles and removed all the bottles from its shelves, according to ILoveTheUpperWestSide.
Buffalo Trace

He said more prestigious bottles of limited-edition bourbons such as those from Pappy Van Winkle net up to $10,000 on the secondary market.

The Inside Edition report says that counterfeiters take empty bottles that once contained exclusive spirits and fill them with cheaper booze, re-selling them for “huge profit.”

Acker Wines told ILoveTheUpperWestSide that it was aware of possible bogus bottles of the bourbon and removed all the bottles from its shelves and refunded customers who purchased them, except for one that didn’t leave contact information, which they believe was the bottle Inside Edition purchased.

“We are committed to delivering the very best in fine and rare wine and spirits to our clients, and the authenticity of our products is paramount,” they told the website. “We … have also invested in authentication practices through the retention of multiple, well-respected, independent spirits authenticators.”

Acker Wines did not immediately return our call for comment.

Credit: NYPOST

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