How Hundreds Of Cases Of Cognac Went Missing From Bacardi

It's one of those things that everyone dreads the moment they check-in their luggage in at the airport — that it will go missing. Not only will it create a massive inconvenience but it's going to cost you a lot too. Now, imagine that your luggage was not only worth $65,000 but there were 400 pieces of luggage! That's pretty much what happened to best-selling Bacardi recently on an American Airlines flight — except it wasn't luggage.

Surprisingly, alcohol heists are not unheard of. The Netflix show, "The Heist," deals with the real-life theft in 2013 of 200 bottles of rare Pappy Van Winkle bourbon — some bottles reach $1,000 a piece at auction.

Other thefts include an American Airlines employee allegedly taking 1,400 miniature bottles of spirits over a three-year period valued at about $10,000. The next time you're tempted by those miniatures in the hotel bar fridge, remember each one has a retail value of $7 a piece! And how could we forget the story of the $4,000 cognac heist which involved one bottle of Rémy Martin's Louis XIII Cognac that was taken from a San Jose restaurant by simply walking off with it.

Alcohol heists are more common than you think

In 2013, the former caretaker of a mansion, John Saunders, was accused of drinking more than $100,000 worth of vintage pre-prohibition whiskey. During the mansion's renovation into a bed and breakfast, the bottles of Old Farm Pure Rye had been discovered hidden in the walls. "The corks were removed or a hole punched through the bottom half to get the whiskey out," Police chief Barry Pritts said during the trial, "[The owner] suspects John Saunders drank the whiskey." Mr. Saunders denied the charges even though his DNA was found on the lip of three of the bottles. The case came to an end when the accused died at the age of 63.

One of the highest price thefts occurred in Miami when thieves were caught on CCTV footage stealing 752 cases of Spirits of the Tsars Golden Vodka – a Ukrainian vodka containing 24 carat gold in its label. It was valued at over $1.1 million.

While American Airlines can offer no explanation as to how Bacardi's cognac disappeared over the Atlantic, it is clear that, some responsibility needs to be taken for the loss. 

American Airlines and the case of the disappearing cognac

Bacardi USA is the American division of the Spanish company which is mostly famous for its rum. The company is not suggesting that American Airlines stole the liquor, they simply want compensation for what should have been the airline's responsibility while the cases of cognac were in the company's care. 

According to Forbes, Bacardi filed a law suit in Pasadena, California last month claiming American Airlines is responsible for the cost of the missing cognac. While the report didn't contain the brand, Bacardi owns three cognac labels — D'Usse, Otard, and Gaston de LaGrange. One of these labels was making its way in 1680 cases from Paris to Los Angeles in September 2021. Somewhere between boarding the plane and landing, 400 of those cases went missing and Bacardi has not received any compensation at the time of publication of this article.