For those in the know, Facebook has become one of the best places to buy, sell and trade rare bottles of bourbon and other whiskeys around. More reliable than Craigslist (thanks to well-manicured member lists), and without geographical limitations, a number of Facebook groups give users the change to deal in all manners of hard to find whiskey, from Van Winkles to BTAC, the newest Orphan Barrels to dusty bottles from prohibition. As more and more retailers begin marking products up to match prices of the secondary markets, they provided both relief (in offering other means to find your holy grail) and frustration (an increasing number of ‘flippers,’ sometimes posting pictures while still in the store and soliciting higher prices).
These are no more.
As whiskey writer Fred Minnick details here, Facebook shut down many of the sites last night (including at least three of which I was a member of). So far, the reason has not come forward, but that doesn’t stop the interwebs from speculating. Whether it was because of direct pressure from companies, or even governments (remember, selling liquor without a license is illegal in many states), the exchanges have been driven further underground. The bottom line is Facebook is still a free service, and they don’t have to give a reason if they don’t want to.
Read Minnick’s post for more details. My money says that within days, they will be back up – albeit a little leaner – and it will be business as usual.