Well, we thought we had it under control. Sure, there's a huge demand out there for the Pappy Van Winkle Bourbons, but we get high-volume hits all the time on our webpage. I asked one of our owners Tuesday night if he thought our servers were up to speed, able to handle the onslaught we were sure to receive, and he said "for sure." However, never under-estimate the passion of a Pappy enthusiast.
Despite the fact that we had strict rules laid out about purchasing only one bottle, lest your order get cancelled, some people thought they had a pretty smart plan - they must have not read the part about us watching over the entire process and weeding out the troublemakers. Some people were so desperate for the Pappy that they designed programs that would access the K&L webpage and place repeat orders every one to two seconds automatically. These scripts were so effective that one person was able to attempt 300 orders for Pappy 20 year in a matter of four minutes. While we were up for the demand of human capability, we were not prepared for the overload that ensued.
Instead of a quick-fingered showdown, we were stuck with a technological meltdown. The strain on our systems prevented the bottles from even being loaded (instead of arriving at 8:00 PM online they didn't show up until around 8:15). These hand-crafted programs sent in repeat orders at a speed that no human could ever hope to achieve. I was sitting here, enjoying my vacation in New York, when a mass flurry of emails overtook my Blackberry and sent me scrambing to get in touch with David OG. People were pissed.
Instead of being able to place an order, our customers were flooded with "Internal Error" messages, of a type that have never before existed on the K&L webpage. We are a high-volume online location, but we'd never been hit like this. Only Pappy Van Winkle whiskey could bring this type of mayhem to K&L. We ended up in a public relations nightmare, far beyond the stress that selling these whiskies entails as is.
To those of you who spent a half hour online doing things the right way - we apologize and we will make it up to you. What this has shown us, however, is that attempting to be open (letting customers know the date and time of the arrival) about the Pappy process has only brought dishonest players to the dance. We're going to have to return to the drawing board and figure out a better way to get these bottles to the right people. Until then, we hope that you understand our dilemma and that you will bare with us as we adapt to the brave new world of Pappy persuers.