It’s been about three weeks now since Jim Murray’s annual proclamation about the ‘Best Whiskies In The World’. Here in Ontario, the LCBO has struggled to meet the truly remarkable demand for Crown Royal’s Northern Harvest created by Mr. Murray. Since the announcement three weeks ago, the LCBO has been restocking between 500 to 1000 bottles per day (usually closer to 1000) and still consistently sells out the entire amount within 24 hours.
This is amazing. Considering that stores in smaller communities that receive a hundred bottles still sell out in a day speaks to the lengths that some people are willing to travel to get their hands on a bottle. The LCBO is following a strict no reserve and no specialty order policy for this item and yet it still doesn’t last a day on the shelves. According to the Toronto Star, people are even purchasing locally to send to friends and family outside of Canada due to the international unavailability and demand. Apparently the world wants this rye as much as we do.
So it begs the question: how long before there’s no more supply? No doubt there will be an additional demand spike over the holidays, both as gifts and for general sharing, exacerbated further with the seasonal price reduction. But by the numbers, LCBO had just over 45,000 bottles on hand in November, and has secured a further 56,000 either being delivered now or over the next couple of weeks so even at the current burn rate, we should be set for a few months.
The take-away here is that if you’re looking for a bottle either to add to the collection or are just curious and want to try it (which at the current price point I strongly recommend), rest easy: there will be bottles. Patience may be called for but the supply will trickle down and make it to you, eventually. The LCBO has “committed” to ensuring supply year-round which I’m not exactly sure is going to be possible, but at least over the next few months Northern Harvest will be on the shelves and will be available. Don’t miss it while it’s here.