Bourbon connoisseurs’ spirits run high, then low, as states allot rare bottles

As liquor connoisseurs’ quest for certain high-end bourbons becomes a blood sport, the 17 states that control their own liquor stores have adopted more and more complex methods to stop obsessed seekers from gaming the system by stalking delivery trucks and reselling sought-after bottles on the black market. Over the past decade, bourbon, once known as the drink for the common man, has acquired the cachet of high-end scotches. Bottles that used to sell for under $50 can now fetch several times that amount, especially on the secondary market — stretching the resources and imagination of state liquor officials trying to equalize buying opportunities for their residents.