Acker Wines, known as “America’s Oldest Wine Shop” and a long-time Upper West Side favorite with an extensive 200 year history, was exposed by Inside Edition for allegedly selling a counterfeit bottle of bourbon. (Shortly after publishing this, Acker Wines returned our request for comment and sent us a statement which you can read at the bottom of the article).
Investigators visited the Upper West Side store, located at 160 West 72nd Street, to buy an almost $1,000 bottle of what the employee said was authentic Colonel E.H. Taylor Four Grain, which is produced at the Buffalo Trace Distillery in Frankfurt, Kentucky.
A representative from the distillery told Inside Edition that all of their bottles come with a distinct “lot code” as well as a “special packaging tube,” neither of which were present on the bottle purchased from Acker.
Once the purchase was complete, investigators sent it to the distillery. “Right out of the gate there were enough red flags that it piqued our interest,” said a representative from Buffalo Trace Distillery. “It seemed like something wasn’t quite right.” He also said a chemical analysis found that the proof didn’t match their product, and that the “strip stamp” was on backwards. “Based on all of the testing that we completed including the evaluation of the bottle itself, I do not believe this bottle is authentic.”
When reporters returned to Acker and confronted a manager outside of the store, he didn’t seem too happy to see them.
Here’s the video by Inside Edition:
After reaching out to Acker Wines, we were sent the following statement from a representative of the store:
“A few months before we were contacted by Inside Edition, we became aware of a possible authentication issue with a select bottling of Colonel E.H. Taylor Four Grain Bourbon that we obtained from a private collector. After an immediate investigation into the authenticity of the bottles, including contacting the parent company of E.H. Taylor, Sazerac, our concerns were not alleviated, and we removed all of the bottles from our shelves and ceased all business with the providing collector. We immediately contacted and refunded all of the customers who had purchased bottles before our recall, save for one buyer who declined to provide his contact information. We now believe this was the bottle behind the Inside Edition story.
“We are committed to delivering the very best in fine and rare wine and spirits to our clients, and the authenticity of our products is paramount. We recently announced the launch of our global spirits division which included hiring US and Asia heads, and have also invested in authentication practices through the retention of multiple, well-respected, independent spirits authenticators.”