When I was a kid, my Dad owned a couple of small neighborhood grocery stores. He named them the Dixie Food Market. There was one in Latonia Kentucky on the corner of 45th and Decoursey Pike. He had a package liquor license for both businesses.
In the middle of the Decoursey store was a cage in which he kept the liquour under lock. Of course he was not afraid of it escaping. But he was concerned about theft. Every Sunday morning he had to put boards on the outside of the liquor cage to prevent it from being seen. It's a Kentucky law.
Mostly what he sold was whiskey. It came in all shapes and sizes of bottles and it had interesting names like Ol' Grandad, Crab Orchard, Old Crow, Heaven Hill, JTS Brown, Jim Beam, Knob Creek, Old Forester, Kentucky Tavern, Ancient Age, Rip Van Winkle, Four Roses. I could go on and on.
Today my wife and I went to the Party Store in Bellevue Kentucky to shop. I have never been a fan of whiskey, much less a drinker of alcohol. I confess to being drunk on only two occasions, both of which I have regretted. At the Party Store I decided to walk down the whiskey isle to see if those old brands were still being produced. It brought back memories. Because it was up to me as a lad of 11 or 12 to put up the whiskey on the shelves of that old liquor cage. So I knew most of the brands.
What I saw at the Party Store was a shocker. My dear Daddy would have been amazed.
As an explanation, the normal size bottle of whiskey is called a fifth, which means a fifth of a barrel. This is 750 ml. A quart of whiskey, 1000 ml, is slightly larger than a quart of milk, which is 947 ml. A fifth of Jack Daniels was priced at $44. The smaller sized bottle, 375 ml, sold for $24. Unbelievable!
The old favorite at my Dad's store JTS Brown was a mere $16 for a fifth. Most of the popular labels that I recall from my youth that sold for around two or three bucks were now in the $40 price range. I even saw some imported and domestic products that were selling for over $500 a fifth!
Those old railroad engineers that used to come into Dad's business to get a bottle to keep them warm on their long trips wouldn't have been able to afford whiskey at today's prices. As I remember a fifth of JTS Brown or Old Crow sole for $3.75 back in the day.
I'll finish my Brita filtered, pitcher-aged Newport Tap now.