As bourbon becomes more and more popular in the U.S., finding that new special release has become more of a hunt than ever. Forget about relationships with store owners, knowing someone that works for a distributor or checking every store in your town when a hot new release comes out. The majority of the time none of that matters because geography is the single biggest factor that decides if you’re getting that new limited edition bottle. Simply, some have it easier than others because it’s not a level playing field out there.

 

The first round of survey results are in! We asked you, the bourbon community, to partake in our short survey to rate different factors that affect purchasing bourbon in your state. These factors were timeliness of releases, price, everyday selection, breadth of limited releases, and overall buying experience. You can read about those factors and our preliminary data in the Intro of this series. As for the results, a lot of interesting data and comments were collected.

 

Some surprises

 

-Both North Dakota and New Hampshire rated very high overall, coming in first and third respectively. Granted they each had a small number of submissions, but it’s still saying something if the few people that took the survey all rated these state highly. We’ll see if these two states rankings change after the next round of results are collected.

 

Some lined up with our initial estimates

 

-As expected, Kentucky rated high (in the top 3 in every category) and had the most submissions.

 

-Both Texas and Tennessee performed well and confirmed preliminary data that they are some of the best states to buy bourbon in. Although, Texas suffered in the timeliness and breadth of limited release categories. Tennessee certainly benefits by neighboring Kentucky, but still has trouble getting limited releases just like every other state does.

 

-Living in a “control state” generally has a negative effect on your bourbon buying. Timeliness, everyday selection, breadth of limited releases, and overall buying experience all suffered, rating below average for these states. On the other hand, price rated highly pretty consistently across all control states, coming in between 3-4 in almost every state. Maryland, New Hampshire, and Oregon were the top three “control states.” It’s also worth noting that out of the six states we didn’t receive any submissions from, four were control states.

 

Some people have it bad

 

-If you think you have it bad in your state, folks that live in Ohio, Pennsylvania, or Washington probably have it a whole lot worse. Ohio and Pennsylvania had the second and third most submissions respectively and some of the lowest ratings. The pent-up frustration in those states is evident in the “colorful” comments many people left.

 

A few other notes

 

-Illinois rated high in every category except price.

 

-With California being such a large state, its rating (and comments) were quite diverse, yet still above average.

 

-Big surprise: Every state has a hard time getting limited releases the survey found. Only three states rated above 3.5 - North Dakota, Kentucky, and Illinois, respectively.

 

Is it safe yet to declare the best state(s) to buy bourbon in? Not quite. Current survey data does confirm many of our initial hunches as to which states are best, but there are clearly some gaps in the data points. Although the survey had a respectable number of submissions, more input is still needed. Please pass the survey link (http://www.breakingbourbon.com/best-state-to-buy-bourbon-results.html#statesurvey2) along to fellow bourbon enthusiasts and let’s see if in the next update we’ll be able to create an even more detailed picture. We would also like to thank everyone that already took the time to fill out the survey and the large number of comments that came with the submissions. We couldn’t have done it without you.

 

Below, you’ll find profiles of each state with their individual ratings and comments. Further down the page you can use a filter to see the big picture results and rankings for each survey factor. We hope you enjoy digging through the results.

Written By Eric

 

Reviewed: 06/2015

 

About the writer

Individual state profiles, ratings and user comments.

Timeliness

Price

Everyday

Selection

Limited

Releases

Buying

Experience

Overall

 

North Dakota

Idaho

Illinois

Kentucky

Maryland

Massachusetts

New Hampshire

Tennessee

Indiana

Missouri

Wisconsin

Louisiana

Delaware

Rhode Island

Georgia

Arkansas

California

Colorado

Texas

South Carolina

Virginia

Iowa

Kansas

Michigan

New York City

Utah

Wash DC

Arizona

North Carolina

Nevada

Oklahoma

New Jersey

Minnesota

New York

Oregon

Ohio

Pennsylvania

Alabama

Connecticut

Florida

Mississippi

Washington

Hawaii

Nebraska

Wyoming

Alaska

Maine

Montana

New Mexico

South Dakota

Vermont

West Virginia

 

5.0

5.0

4.9

4.6

3.8

3.6

3.5

3.5

3.5

3.3

3.1

3.0

3.0

3.0

3.0

3.0

2.9

2.8

2.8

2.8

2.8

2.8

2.7

2.6

2.6

2.6

2.6

2.5

2.5

2.3

2.3

2.3

2.3

2.2

2.2

1.8

1.7

1.7

1.6

1.6

1.6

1.6

1.0

1.0

1.0

1.0

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

 

New Hampshire

Texas

Kentucky

North Dakota

Missouri

Delaware

Rhode Island

Arkansas

Oklahoma

Utah

Arizona

Idaho

Hawaii

Wyoming

Oregon

Maryland

Nevada

Ohio

North Carolina

Louisiana

Georgia

South Carolina

Pennsylvania

Tennessee

Florida

Kansas

Mississippi

Minnesota

Wisconsin

California

Colorado

Indiana

Massachusetts

Virginia

Connecticut

Alabama

Nebraska

Illinois

New York

Wash DC

Michigan

New Jersey

Alaska

Iowa

New York City

Washington

Maine

Montana

New Mexico

South Dakota

Vermont

West Virginia

 

5.0

4.5

4.3

4.0

4.0

4.0

4.0

4.0

4.0

4.0

4.0

4.0

4.0

4.0

3.8

3.7

3.7

3.5

3.5

3.5

3.5

3.5

3.4

3.4

3.3

3.3

3.3

3.3

3.2

3.2

3.2

3.1

3.0

3.0

3.0

3.0

3.0

2.9

2.9

2.8

2.4

2.2

2.0

1.8

1.7

1.0

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

 

Tennessee

Kentucky

California

Missouri

Colorado

New York City

Illinois

Maryland

Oregon

North Dakota

New Hampshire

Texas

Louisiana

Delaware

Rhode Island

Hawaii

Indiana

Massachusetts

Connecticut

New York

Nevada

Michigan

Wisconsin

Arkansas

Oklahoma

Utah

Florida

Mississippi

Iowa

Wash DC

Washington

New Jersey

Minnesota

Georgia

South Carolina

Nebraska

Virginia

Kansas

Arizona

Alabama

Ohio

Alaska

Pennsylvania

North Carolina

Idaho

Wyoming

Maine

Montana

New Mexico

South Dakota

Vermont

West Virginia

 

4.8

4.7

4.3

4.3

4.3

4.3

4.3

4.2

4.2

4.0

4.0

4.0

4.0

4.0

4.0

4.0

3.9

3.8

3.8

3.8

3.7

3.6

3.5

3.5

3.3

3.3

3.3

3.3

3.3

3.2

3.2

3.2

3.1

3.1

3.0

3.0

2.7

2.7

2.5

2.2

2.0

2.0

1.9

1.8

1.0

1.0

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

 

North Dakota

Kentucky

Illinois

New Hampshire

Maryland

California

Washington

Missouri

Indiana

Colorado

Oregon

Virginia

Tennessee

Louisiana

Delaware

Massachusetts

New York

New York City

Wisconsin

Texas

Wash DC

Georgia

South Carolina

Iowa

New Jersey

Minnesota

Rhode Island

Nevada

Utah

Arizona

Michigan

Connecticut

Alabama

Pennsylvania

Florida

North Carolina

Oklahoma

Kansas

Ohio

Arkansas

Idaho

Hawaii

Mississippi

Nebraska

Wyoming

Alaska

Maine

Montana

New Mexico

South Dakota

Vermont

West Virginia

 

4.7

4.3

3.8

3.5

3.5

3.5

3.4

3.3

3.3

3.2

3.2

3.1

3.0

3.0

3.0

3.0

3.0

3.0

2.9

2.9

2.8

2.8

2.4

2.3

2.2

2.1

2.0

2.0

2.0

2.0

2.0

2.0

2.0

1.9

1.8

1.7

1.7

1.7

1.4

1.0

1.0

1.0

1.0

1.0

1.0

1.0

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

 

North Dakota

New Hampshire

Kentucky

Maryland

Louisiana

Colorado

Rhode Island

Arkansas

California

Illinois

Tennessee

Missouri

Indiana

Wisconsin

Texas

New York

Georgia

Oregon

Oklahoma

Michigan

Massachusetts

Minnesota

Delaware

South Carolina

Nevada

New York City

Wash DC

Arizona

Idaho

Connecticut

Hawaii

Utah

Virginia

Florida

New Jersey

Kansas

Mississippi

Ohio

Alabama

North Carolina

Iowa

Nebraska

Wyoming

Alaska

Pennsylvania

Washington

Maine

Montana

New Mexico

South Dakota

Vermont

West Virginia

 

5.0

4.5

4.4

4.0

4.0

4.0

4.0

4.0

3.8

3.8

3.8

3.7

3.6

3.6

3.6

3.6

3.4

3.3

3.3

3.2

3.2

3.1

3.0

3.0

3.0

3.0

3.0

3.0

3.0

3.0

3.0

2.7

2.7

2.7

2.5

2.3

2.3

2.2

2.2

2.1

2.0

2.0

2.0

2.0

1.8

1.8

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

 

North Dakota

Kentucky

New Hampshire

Illinois

Maryland

Missouri

Tennessee

California

Texas

Louisiana

Colorado

Indiana

Delaware

Rhode Island

Oregon

Massachusetts

Wisconsin

Georgia

Arkansas

New York

South Carolina

Nevada

Oklahoma

New York City

Utah

Wash DC

Virginia

Arizona

Idaho

Minnesota

Michigan

Connecticut

Hawaii

Florida

Kansas

New Jersey

Iowa

North Carolina

Mississippi

Alabama

Washington

Ohio

Pennsylvania

Nebraska

Wyoming

Alaska

Maine

Montana

New Mexico

South Dakota

Vermont

West Virginia

 

4.5

4.4

4.1

3.9

3.8

3.7

3.7

3.5

3.5

3.5

3.5

3.5

3.4

3.4

3.3

3.3

3.3

3.2

3.1

3.1

2.9

2.9

2.9

2.9

2.9

2.9

2.8

2.8

2.8

2.8

2.8

2.7

2.6

2.5

2.5

2.5

2.4

2.3

2.3

2.2

2.2

2.2

2.1

2.0

1.8

1.6

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

If you missed the first round of this survey, there's still time to submit ratings & comments for your state (come on ME, NM, MT, SD, VT, WV). We'll continue to update our results as more data comes in. Please take a few moments to complete the short survey.
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