Having a name for a private barrel or store pick goes back a long time. Doug Phillips, who picked among the very first WFE barrels in 2006, had the label information filled in with green ink. A second pick was done in black. Over time, these bottles became known simply by Doug’s Green or Black Ink. In 2014 the Facebook group T5C upped the ante by naming a Smooth Ambler Old Scout pick FS/FT, an acronym meaning For Sale/For Trade. More creative barrel pick names followed. For the most part, the producers allowed a certain amount of characters and this was applied to the bottle label on the producer’s bottling line. Certain bottles have empty areas and groups/stores learned they could take advantage of this by placing a graphical sticker there and no longer be bound to the producers character limitations. These would typically be applied after the store received the bottles.
This trend quickly caught on as many saw taters clamor for bottles with these new additions. The sticker game was on full force. Secondary sales on bottles can be easily manipulated, some groups used stickers to engage in pump and dump schemes. They hyped up the latest pick, adorned with a creative sticker, as the best. Because many taters have an irrational FOMO (fear of missing out) they are easily conned into believing the hype and paying 10 to 20 times original cost of these picks.
In 2018, a new trend emerged – labels that covered up the original producers label. Unfortunately, most stores aren’t aware of federal labeling codes that stipulate certain information is mandatory on liquor labels. Federal codes even specify where on the bottle certain information must be located. Here is one example:
This is the front label of a Knob Creek 120 proof bourbon pick. The TTB BAM Ch. 1 on mandatory label information states that front label has the brand name and the class/type. In this case that would be Knob Creek and Straight Bourbon Whiskey. This label covers up both.
Here is an example of a store applied label that covers up the mandatory government alcohol warning along with the required producer’s statement.
Naming a barrel pick with a good or funny name or applying a sticker in a blank area is fine. Covering up required labeling information is going too far.
This post inspired by these 2 you might be a whiskey tater reasons:
59. Hype up any barrel pick you bought bottles of only later to flip a bottle on secondary
76. You have an irrational fear on missing out by thinking this ‘limited’ special release or that single barrel pick is the ONE.