What Is A Store Pick Bourbon? Answered (2023 Updated)

Last Updated on August 22, 2023 by Lydia Martin

How many of you have tried browsing liquor shelves with a good bourbon and ended up choosing none? 

Instead of getting a random bourbon bottle, why don’t you go for a bottle of store-pick bourbon? 

But what is a store-pick bourbon, and how does this concept work? We got some interesting facts for you, so read on. 

What A Store Pick Bourbon Really Means

Pouring Whiskey on a glass with ice

Store-pick bourbon is a bottling exclusively chosen by an entity other than the bottler or distiller. 

Generally, it is a private barrel bourbon selection by the store owner or a staff member.

The purchaser can be a group of individuals, a whiskey club, a bar, or a liquor retailer. 

Store picks have become popular as allocated bourbons can be harder to snag for a fair price, and bourbon hunting can be exhausting. 

How The Store Pick Bourbon Concept Works 

Single Barrel Selection

Single barrel selections are bourbons that come from single barrels so expect that every barrel has different tasting notes [1]. 

It is a premium class of whiskey that comes from individual aging barrels and is not blended with various barrels. 

Read: Single Barrel vs Small Batch Bourbons

Small Batch Selection

Small Batch selection is a blend of a small number of selected barrels and maintains consistency through barreling.

Small Batch selection can be a blend of two or two hundred barrels. 

If you buy a Small Batch of mainline whiskeys, the tasting notes can be similar to the ones you’d experience, even if it is a store-pick bourbon. 

Private Barrel Selection

2 whisky barrel on top of a wood pallet

A private Barrel is a few steps ahead of the Single Barrel because the barrel purchaser gets control of almost everything. 

“Store picks are rare bourbons… It is a great whiskey that’s accessible” – Jane Bowie, Maker’s Mark Director of Innovation.

In Private Barrel selection, the distillery controls what barrel is bottled, but with store-pick, the purchaser will select the barrel and proof based on what the distillery offers. 

3 Most Common Selection & Purchase Methods 

3. Buyer Is Invited To The Distillery

a man and woman talking

One of the most common selection and purchase methods for store-pick bourbons is the buyers are invited to the distillery. 

The purchaser or representative will then select the barrels they purchase and have them labeled with “selected by” and still bear the brand name. 

2. Buyer Is Informed Of An Unevaluated Barrel For Sale

In some cases, the distillery will inform the buyer that there are unevaluated barrels for sale but sometimes are not allowed to try them before purchasing them. 

Some retailers will buy store-pick bourbons as they are offered one and for the sake of getting on the game, while some are told that someone else will if they do not have it. 

1. Samples Are Sent To The Buyer

man holding whisky bottle sample

A convenient and most common purchase method for store-pick bourbon is for the distilleries, or distributors will send samples to the buyer. 

The samples are then evaluated, and when the choice has been made, they will purchase the barrel, and there will be a customized label on every bottle. 


How can you look at a bottle and tell it is a store-pick bourbon?

To tell if it is a store-pick bourbon, there’s a label on the bottle that says “selected by” with the name of the store or purchaser included. It is then a bourbon that will represent the store. 

Are store-pick bourbon bottles better than regular bottles?

Yes, store-pick bourbon bottles are better than regular bottles. Rarity is one factor; however, it can vary depending on maturation, especially the palate of those who chose the barrel. 

Key Takeaways

The store owners or representatives select the barrels for store-pick bourbons according to their palate.

The store or the purchaser’s name is included in every bottle, like a sort of exclusivity. 

Instead of hunting hard-to-find bourbons, let the liquor stores work for you by getting store-pick bourbons.

They are affordable and rare whiskeys, and it is increasingly getting popular. 



Lydia Martin

Lydia Martin hails from Redmond, Washington, where you’ll find some of the best cocktail bars and distilleries that offer a great mix of local drinks. She used to work as a bar manager in Paris and is a self-taught mixologist whose passion for crafting unique cocktails led her to create Liquor Laboratory. Lydia can whip up a mean Margarita in seconds! Contact at [email protected] or learn more about us here.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *