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Man inherits 200+ antique liquor bottles

Posted at 7:52 PM, Feb 21, 2020
and last updated 2020-02-21 19:53:01-05

LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX 18) — It's not unusual to see a well-stocked bar in Kentucky, but one man recently inherited quite a collection; more than 200 bottles of antique liquor dating back to the 1950s.

"These all belonged to my grandparents. They've had them in storage since they moved into their house and they just wanted to clear out some space,” said Ryan Smith. “The newest one is from 1985 and everything else is older than that."

Smith says he remembers seeing the collection in his grandparent's home when he was young. He says his mom told him she even played with some of the more decorative bottles when she was kid.

They're all unopened and made it through the years.

Two that stand out are related to previous Kentucky Derbies. The oldest is from the Derby’s 95th year.

"It's Kentucky straight bourbon, Jim Beam. It has a commemorative thing here for the first Kentucky Derby winner on May 17th, 1875,” said Smith.

Others also have a historical connection, like a bottle from the American Legion that commemorates the 50th anniversary of World War I.

While Smith admits it's an impressive collection, he's not interested in keeping the antique bottles. He's looking for people who can give them a home.

"Somebody who is really interested in this,” said Smith. “I know that there's a lot of Kentucky bourbon here. A lot of things that people would be really interested in, I think."

There is one he's holding on to though; a bottle of Maker's Mark autographed by Johnny Bench of the Cincinnati Reds.

"It's numbered 423 out of 3,000,” said Smith. “When my grandpa gave me this one, he made a point to say, 'Make sure you say that I watched Johnny Bench sign this one.’"

Smith said he’s talked to people who’ve reached out to him about the bottles and has reached out himself to businesses to see if they’d like to add to their collection.