Pappy Van Winkle, one of the world’s most sought-after whiskeys, was famously stolen en masse from a distillery in October 2013. The loss of the rare liquor caused sob-fest for spirit aficionados, but here’s a news item that’s sure to cheer them up: Some missing bottles of Pappy have been recovered.

On Tuesday, Kentucky authorities announced they’d indicted nine people for stealing a sh*t-ton of whiskey from the Buffalo Trace and Wild Turkey distilleries. Of that sh*t-ton—an estimated $100,000 worth of whiskey—more than two dozen were the sought-after bourbon (no word if this was the same Pappy from the 2013 heist). Also recovered were 15 barrels of Wild Turkey, two barrels of whiskey made at Buffalo Trace, and large amounts of Eagle Rare bourbon.

pappy
Photo: Chelsea Wine Vault

How did the authorities catch onto this smuggling ring? The Lexington Herald-Leader explains:

The investigation gained steam earlier this year when authorities found several bourbon barrels behind a shed in Franklin County. The labeling on each barrel had been obscured. Wild Turkey’s owner, Italian-based Gruppo Campari, had said there were no signs that anyone had broken into the warehouse where those barrels were stolen.

The barrels were found behind the home of Gilbert Thomas Curtsinger, a longtime employee at Buffalo Trace Distillery in Frankfort. He was arrested and has pleaded not guilty to multiple offenses, including receiving stolen property over $10,000.

Curtsinger was among those indicted Tuesday, and authorities called him a ringleader. His wife, Julie Curtsinger, who is not a distillery worker, also was indicted.

For the few people still uninitiated with the legendary Kentucky brand, the fact that over two dozen bottles of the stuff appeared again is significant. Only 7,000 cases are produced per year, and pours of it at a bar can go for $100 per two ounces. You probably still won’t get a bottle, but better that these recovered bottles are now able to be enjoyed rather than hoarded.

[via Lexington Herald-Leader]