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Pappy Van Winkle: Shepherdstown Liquors’ final bottle of rare bourbon raises funds for library building

By Staff | Jan 3, 2020

Shepherdstown Public Library Vice President Terry Kramer draws the winning ticket in Shepherdstown Liquors on Friday evening. Tabitha Johnston

SHEPHERDSTOWN — In 2017, Shepherdstown Liquors owner Mohsen Sadeghzadeh was able to get one case of Pappy Van Winkle bourbon to add to his private collection.

According to Sadeghzadeh, the 20-year-old bourbon is so rare, that only a few cases of it are distributed in each state every year. Each case contains three bottles of bourbon. While many business owners would take advantage of the bourbon’s rarity and resell it for an exorbitant price, Sadeghzadeh chose to use the bourbon for a better purpose.

Beginning in 2017, Sadeghzadeh has raffled off one bottle of the bourbon during the Christmas season, and has donated all of the ticket proceeds to the Shepherdstown Public Library’s building fund.

“I think a lot of people wanted to contribute to a great cause, but because the raffle was also for the library, I think they were even more excited to contribute to it,” Sadeghzadeh said.

Shepherdstown Liquors General Manager Whitney Master was in charge of the ticket sales, and said the bourbon, which has a resale value of $2,500, was displayed in Shepherdstown Liquors to advertise the raffle.

“People came in and as soon as they saw it, they wanted to know what it cost. As soon as they found out it’s not for sale, their hearts would break, and they’d want a picture with it,” Master said.

According to SPL Director of Library Development Lee Ann Warner, the majority of the raffle’s tickets were purchased, making the amount this year’s raffle raised to be over $3,000.

“We always have 400 tickets and sell a large number of those tickets every year. All of the proceeds from the fundraiser go to the new library fund,” Warner said, mentioning the library new ground’s soil quality is currently being evaluated by Triad Engineering. After their analysis is completed, the library will only need to figure out a few more design details and get a building permit.

“We’re waiting for our building permit to arrive in January. We hope to begin construction in March — that’s what we’re being told by our architects and our owners representatives,” Warner said.

SPL Vice President Terry Kramer shook up the jar of tickets and then reached his hand into it on Friday evening, drawing the winning ticket. Tom Gangemi, of Charles Town, won the final bottle of Pappy Van Winkle bourbon, and, as he had bought five tickets for himself and four of his friends, said he would plan to share the bottle with those friends.

“I’m a little shaken,” Gangemi said, after being called and told the news.