How long would my bourbon last? (includes a calculator for your collection)

This is a great question and one that was posed to me recently by my wife’s friend as the three of us chatted recently. The discussion took place from across the street as I returned from a run, with ample distance between us. We joked about how bourbon hoarders like myself and her husband could now partially justify their behavior.  She then asked, “how long would your bourbon supply last if you could never buy again?”

What a wonderful question that she asked during this time of quarantine, and I decided to find out the answer. First of all, bourbon and rye are both part of my collection, so the question had to include both forms of whiskey (I have no Japanese or Scotch or I would add those too).  I also know that I have 3 sources of whiskey in my house: sealed bottles, open bottles, and samples. To make things easy and consistent, I decided to count up the total volume of whiskey I have in milliliters and divide that by what I would expect to drink during a true apocalypse.

Total Volume

Sealed Bottles

This was easy to calculate. I have a spreadsheet of all the sealed bottles in my basement (also thank you to the quarantine), and a few everyday drinker backups upstairs. Combining the two came out to 204 sealed bottles. I decided to stick with milliliters for my overall volume, so 204 x 750 ml = 153,000 ml. However, I had to do a little more math to account for the 5 bottles that were 1.75 liter, the 3 bottles that were 375 ml, and the 2 1 liter bottles (surprisingly I had no 700 ml, the standard for European bottles). Adding 5000 ml, subtracting (375 x 3), and then adding 250 ml twice, my overall milliliter volume for the sealed bottles in my house was 157,375 ml.

Open Bottles

I decided to make open bottles easy by just estimating open bottles in 3 different categories. I made a list that said 3/4, 1/2, and 1/4. Any bottle that looked like it had less than 1/4 was not counted. For every other bottle, I used the lowest estimate of the 3. For example, a mostly filled bottle was counted as 3/4, and one that appeared to be just under half was marked as 1/4. It was definitely not an exact science, but the under-estimation provided room for error. Based on this, I had 23 bottles with 3/4, 28 bottles with 1/2, 28 bottles at 1/4, and the rest were not counted. I used the exact ml calculations for 3/4 (562.5), 1/2 (375), and 1/4 (187.5) respectively. The total volume of open bottles was estimated to be a total of 28,687 ml (12,937 ml + 10,500 ml + 5,250 ml). I had to do a little more addition, however, as 1 bottle was a 1 liter that was mostly full, and the other was a mostly full 1.75 liter. I ended up with a nice even 30,000 ml for my open bottles.


Samples came last and were not that hard to factor into the equation. I had 12 fully sealed samples (720 ml), a few with half, and a few bottles that were used for various bottle picks that had about half. All in all, conservatively I would say it was about 1000 ml.


I had approximately 188,375 milliliters of whiskey in my house.

How long would that last?

On an average night in my house I probably have 2 drinks for a total of 4 ounces. During quarantine, that number has gone up due to the fact I don’t really have to do anything except wake up, drink coffee, and work from home. I would say during quarantine, my number is up to 6 ounces. Now that number does vary depending on the proof of what I am drinking. If I have a higher proof first pour, I probably go with a lower proof second pour and maybe no more than that. For the sake of this problem, I don’t want to factor in ABV, but that can be explored later. Let’s say that in an actual apocalypse, I would drink 6 ounces. 2-4 would be high proof, 2 would be lower proof. Obviously it would all vary, but I’m going with 6 ounces or 180 ml a night, which means that I can drink for…

1,046 days.

That’s just under 3 years before I run out. 3 years, that’s it. That isn’t long enough I don’t think. I’ll think about it as I run out to the liquor store.

How long will your collection last?

Find out with this form!

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