Local bourbon is a prized possession during national shortage

By Beau Ebenezer

June 7, 2014 Updated Jun 9, 2014 at 1:31 PM CDT

EAST PEORIA, Ill. -- A national shortage of bourbon has people scrambling to get one last taste.

That's why it was no surprise to see a line outside J.K. Williams Distilling Company Saturday afternoon.

The whiskey production company released their first brand of bourbon, Young Buck.

But there were only 351 bottles available.

"We knew they would only have so many bottles so we made sure we got here early," said Wyoming resident, Diann Bush. "We got here before noon, but we weren't first in line. There was a pretty big line. It was kind of fun to get out and see what was going on today. It was a nice day for some bourbon."

"They talked about how they were going to release their new barrels," said Bloomington resident, Michael Almeida. "The honey comb design of the barrel would impart flavor into the bourbon. We were curious to get here and get a bottle.."

Bourbon sales have increased by 30 percent in the last five years across the country, according to the Distilled Spirits Council.

President of J.K. Williams, Jon Williams said supply can't keep up with the demand for two reasons -- the shortage of barrels and the time it takes to age bourbon.

"The biggest challenge is we can crank out more bourbon today and we could put it in the barrel today, if we had a barrel," said Williams. "But you have to wait and it has to age. It has to mellow in that aging process. It's a paced process."

By mid-July, J.K. Williams Distilling Company hopes to have more bourbon on the shelves.

They expect to produce more each month.

The distillery also has a two-year aged bourbon in the works.

Williams still encourages people to try their large whiskey selection once their bourbon runs out.