The end of March is when the LCBO performs its end-of-(financial)-year inventory. This in and of itself is far from an interesting topic yet it is a time of great interest to the collector. And please note that for anyone living in a territory where alcohol sales are government controlled this should also apply, adjusted to the local end-of-year schedule, of course.
This is the time of year when oddities are found, cases of sold out limited releases suddenly re-appear, and, sadly, others are delisted permanently. As inventory date approaches, I keep a vigilant eye for anything of interest like out of the ordinary bottles appearing. To some degree I’m kicking myself for not noticing the timing of this before. Almost exactly two years ago I saw a half dozen bottles of Tobermory appear on the shelves of my local LCBO, where none had been stocked for months. As well, it was deeply discounted to $49, compared to the regular $67. Similarly there were bottles of Glenfarclas 12 year for $63 , compared to the usual $75. I didn’t act immediately on either deal and was rewarded by missing out completely. I realized later that it was only the one store that had this specials. In hindsight I understand now what was going on.
Flash forward to this year. Last week my wife and I drove to one of the larger LCBO outlets in Toronto, the Erin Mills store where I was after a Mackmyra Special 08. Eight bottles had appeared in Ontario and according to the LCBO website, two were at this store. I was not disappointed. The real surprise though was what was also on the shelves. Two bottles of Longrow. For Ontario, this was like a sasquatch sighting; any Springbank product for that matter is like a sasquatch. While in the store I tried to look up the bottle for price comparison but it didn’t show either by name of by scanned barcode; it was truly hidden inventory. So I did the only thing possible, I bought it.
I do wish that I could give some solid guidance about how to find lost treasures like this across the LCBO network. Unfortunately there is no pattern nor app that will assist here because the really great finds are completely off the grid. It’s all just about being in the right store when they pull out lost inventory. Start looking around the end of March, targeting larger stores in out of the way places for the ‘garage-sale’ clearance items. Now that I recall, there was a lone bottle of Macallan 12 on the shelf at the Kingsway LCBO in Toronto last year this time. This expression hasn’t been seen in Canada for over two years, perhaps longer. Treasures abound out there, just keep your eyes open!