How To Acquire Rare Alcoholic Beverages Without Getting Burned
If you like to collect rare vintages of wine, beer, and other alcoholic beverages, you will not find these at just any liquor store. Only certain liquor stores acquire these rare treasures. You will know that a liquor store has some ultra-collectible bottles of "the good stuff" when you see locked cases and single bottles behind the glass. There is a right way and several wrong ways to acquire these treasures.
Find out What They Are Worth
Sure, you could buy these rare bottles of alcohol, but liquor store owners tend to upcharge them a little to make a profit. For example, find out what a bottle of 1792 French cognac is actually worth before you agree to buy it for two grand. Also, request verification of the product in the bottle. You do not want a knock-off or a fraudulent product.
Make Sure the Beverage Has Not Gone Bad
You may be thinking, "But alcohol is already a fermented product - how can it go bad?" True, but it can go bad all the same. Wines become more bitter, cloudy, and contain granular flecks of stuff on the bottom of the bottle when they have been exposed to high heat. This means that ultra-rare bottle you want to buy is now completely worthless and the asking price is an insulting joke. Likewise, spirits like brandy and cognac have a very distinct color when preserved correctly. If they are exposed to high heat, poor temperature controls in storage, or are exposed to the open air, their color will change. Know what to look for before you throw down the money, especially if you intend to drink the product for a very special occasion.
You can always haggle with the owner of a rare bottle. Usually, he or she has a set price in mind, but he/she may also be searching for something rare. If you have a vintage bottle of something the other owner wants, you may be able to strike a bargain. It may be an even exchange, bottle for bottle, or an uneven exchange if one bottle is more valuable than the other. The more priceless bottle will require a little extra cash incentive to get the owner to make the deal and the trade, but it beats paying full price for your new prize. This is especially true if you own several of the last bottles made of a particular spirit and are willing to let go of one.