The Virginia ABC held a statewide lottery for rare bottles of bourbon this past April, which is not unusual. Still, two entrants won all four products, 50 won three, and 229 won two, despite the statistical improbability. Each product had between 35,000 and 38,000 entries. The odds of winning, based on the number of bottles for sale and amount of people who entered the lottery, was 1 in 48.68 for the Stagg, 1 in 125.27 for the Handy, 1 in 179.02 for the Weller, and 1 in 739.41 for the Sazerac.
According to Virginia ABC, of 37,485 entries for the George T. Stagg Bourbon, 770 bottles were awarded; of 35,492 entries for the Sazerac Rye 18-Year-Old, 48 bottles were awarded; of 35,828 entries for the Thomas H. Handy Sazerac Rye, 286 bottles were awarded; and of 37,416 entries for the William Larue Weller Bourbon, 209 bottles were awarded.
“Virginia ABC staff conducted the lottery drawing following procedures established and used for previous drawings,” a statement from Virginia ABC reads. “Entrants in each drawing were assigned random numbers to determine the winners. Drawings were witnessed by a member of the authority’s internal audit division. As a result of these findings, the authority adds additional layers of review to the lottery sorting process,” the authority’s statement reads. A new electronic lottery system, hosted in Virginia ABC’s Management of Inventory and Product Sales system, is also in the testing phase.”
There were four items included in the April Liquor Lottery:
- George T. Stagg Bourbon – 37,485 entries and awarded 770 bottles = 1 in 48.68 chance of winning
- Thomas H. Handy Sazerac Rye – 35,828 entries and awarded 286 bottles = 1 in 125.27 chance of winning
- William Larue Weller Bourbon – 37,416 entries and awarded 209 bottles = 1 in 179.02 chance of winning
- Sazerac Rye 18 Year Old – 35,492 entries and awarded 48 bottles = 1 in 739.41 chance of winning
Virginia ABC says, “No evidence has been found to indicate foul play.”