Whether it's tiger cubs, vinyl records, or your kidneys, there's a bizarre black market for just about everything under the sun. That also holds true for things that you can eat and drink (Though we suppose you can try doing that with any of those previously mentioned items. We believe in you.), including alcohol.
People have been "investing" in wine and tequila forever, and whiskey has its own black market, fueled by Facebook groups. Journalists have infiltrated some, figured out the secret codes, and have been able to navigate a system of people obsessed enough to drop five figures on "rare" bottles. Whatever image you're picturing in your head, yes, it's that guy. Just because it costs the same amount as a car doesn't mean it's not alcoholism, bruh.
The reason codes exist is that you're not supposed to be selling alcohol without a license. Groups made the cover-your-ass move of stating, "NO ALCOHOL SALES!" Which led to people that consider "whiskey enthusiast" to be a personality trait developing their own language to do business. Facebook (and, presumably, the law) did a crackdown, so things died down a little.
Then, we had a global pandemic. Bars and restaurants had no customers, no income, and bills to pay, but did have a Homer Simpson wet dream amount high-end whiskey. Some bottles individually sold for enough to cover a bartender's annual salary and then some. Despite coming from actual alcohol vendors, a couple of workarounds have still been necessary. Some whiskeys got rebottled into smaller samplers and sold at a discount, while others had to be included as part of a "grocery" delivery when restaurants delivered food.
Now is apparently the time to pounce on these rare whiskeys. They're selling for less money, and the sales are helping keep historic bars and restaurants afloat. That said, it's probably not the best idea to throw your entire stimulus check at the booze version of Beanie Babies.
Top Image: Jazz Guy/Wiki Commons