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liquor stores in NC/SC - seeking bourbon

Hello all.

I live in Toronto, but will be visiting North Carolina and South Carolina, specifically Western NC/Asheville and Charleston/Columbia SC. I'm a big bourbon fan so I though I'd try to pick up some bottles that are not available up here. Any ideas on which areas would have better prices and/or selection? Brands I can get up here include: Bookers, Maker's Mark, Woodford Reserve, the various Jack Daniel's bottlings, Wild Turkey 80 proof. Anything I should look out for?

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  1. For nc I would look to the state abc(alcohol control board) website. THey will list the contact. I would contact each store individually. They will all have slightly different inventory. You can also search the abc website to see what is available system wide though just because its available does not mean the local store will have it. http://www.ncabc.com/

    I believe that sc has independent liquor stores. Best bet is to google for charleston area stores.

    A quick search revealed Total Wine may have what you want(http://www.wineaccess.com/store/total...) they only sell wine in nc but appear to be a full ine store in sc

    1. Duh. Took me a while to remember. Green's is in Columbia. If they're anything like the stores in ATL, you'll find a good selection.

      http://www.greensbeverages.com/

      1. A great, reasonably priced bourbon that is apparently distributed only in the mid-southern states is Ancient Ancient Age (yes, that's two "Ancients") 10 year old. I hear the Buffalo Trace distillery will be phasing it out as they increase the distribution of their flagship brand, because they'll be using the stocks of AAA to fill bottles of BT, which sell at a higher price point. Get it while you can. I love the stuff, but since I moved from Virginia to California I miss it dearly.

        1. I am not trying to be picky, but Jack Daniels is not Bourbon. Jack Daniels is Sour Mash Whiskey, made in Tennesee. Most [but not all] Bourbon is made in Kentucky, according to Bourbon laws of distilling whiskey. Jim Beam is Bourbon.

          Although this may not help you in your search of bourbon in NC/SC, read more about it here:

          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bourbon_...

          4 Replies
          1. re: soozycue520

            To clarify, Jack Daniel's is not bourbon because it is not aged in charred white oak barrels, not because it's made in Tennessee.

            1. re: ricepad

              Actually, I think it's the charcoal filtration of the new make spirit prior to aging, not the barrels (think both are aged in newly charred oak barrels.

              Here's where I refreshed my recollection:

              http://www.straightbourbon.com/faq.ht...

              1. re: ted

                You're right...according to the company website, JD *is* aged in charred oak barrels, and it's the charcoal FILTERING that makes the difference. I always thought it was filtered, then bottled directly, with no barrel aging.

                1. re: ricepad

                  Yeah, if they did that, it'd be basically moonshine. Unless they're adding brewer's caramel for color, the color in whiskey is picked up from the barrel (the part that's just toasted, not charred).

          2. My roommate years ago was an old line Confederate from VA (his family had been here slightly longer than the Indians) and he swore by Rebel Yell. I assume that you can get it in NC/SC.

            1 Reply
            1. re: dshapos

              My Dad used to drink this, and I don't think it's all that great. I haven't paid that much attention to the low-end brands, but anything out of Buffalo Trace tends to be in short supply (Buffalo Trace, George T. Stagg, Sazerac, etc). Short enough that it might not show up in SC. I recently picked up a bottle of Buffalo Trace in WY, and I found Sazerac 18 yr in CA (and used favor debt to get it back to GA).

              The other thing I thought of that might not be available much outside the south is Conecuh Ridge. It's AL's first legitimately-produced whiskey. Haven't tried it, so I have no idea if it's any good.

            2. If you're a whiskey fan in general, there are some inexpensive curiosities to be had in the South that you just can't get up North, such as corn whiskey and local varieties of unaged corn liquor. Try J.W. Corn or Mellow Corn - they're cheap, and not great whiskey, but provide an interesting perspective on the corn flavor in your favorite bourbon (or Tennessee whiskey).

              1. Since you will be travelling back to Canada, you will be limited to only 1.14 liters duty-free. I would suggest trying to find a bottle of Jim Beam Black either in NC or SC and taking it back. If you already have JB Black in Toronto, go for one of the other ones recommended above - although NC may have a larger selection than SC.

                The state ABC stores in NC are very much like the LCBO stores in Ontario, except that beer and wine are sold in regular stores. SC has a unique regulation regarding miniature bottles of spirits (50 mL) sold in bars and some liquor stores. I guess you could buy a 750 mL bottle of JB Black in NC, then buy 7 mini bottles of other bourbons in SC and still meet the 1 liter limit!

                4 Replies
                  1. re: ted

                    Interesting, I remember hearing something about that, but I see it has finally passed. Liquor laws are very weird across the United States, except out here in the West (CA, NV, AZ, NM) - we enjoy liquor in the supermarkets and sales on Sunday.

                    1. re: Sacto_Damkier

                      I agree. The beer-by-the-case law in PA is easily the strangest one still around at this point. In UT, you can at least get full-strength beer in a state store (everywhere else it's 3.2%).

                      One of the funnier images I have from college is going to Myrtle Beach. At one bar, folks would order a pitcher of Long Island Iced Tea, which would prompt the bartender to open a double fistfull of minis, upend them into a pitcher of ice, and go do something else while they drained out.

                      1. re: ted

                        Yeah, the minis were freaky. I have been tempted by buy a bunch of them for posterity before they are all gone.

                        The OP should note that most liquor stores (Green's excluded) can only be identified by the red dots on the building. When my inlaws came to SC for our wedding, they drove around aimlessly for quite some time looking for a liquor store w/out success. The absence of both coffee and liquor (hey...we had beer) at our house was traumatic for them.