A liquor collection in low orange light.

If you’re just getting into the world of liquor collecting, it can be difficult to know where to start. The market for fine liquors has grown tremendously in recent years, and there are more items to collect out there than ever before. Here are four tips that will help you get started as a collector of fine spirits.

Establish a Good Relationship at Your Local Liquor Store

One of the secrets of the liquor trade is that some of the rarest items never even hit the shelf at most liquor stores. Instead, they are stored in the back and doled out to the store’s best customers. If you want to increase your chances of scoring these rarities, start by establishing a good relationship with the staff and management at a local liquor store. By becoming a well-liked regular, you can give yourself an edge in obtaining rare spirits.

Figure Out Your Niche

When you’re first starting out, it can be helpful to focus on a specific category of spirits. These days, bourbon is far and away the most popular among collectors. However, there are excellent opportunities out there for collectors of rum, scotch, Irish whiskies and other categories. You might even consider looking into lesser-known categories, such as armagnacs.

Look for Limited Releases

Once you’ve built up a basic collection of regular releases, you’ll want to start seeking out special releases from your favorite distilleries, such as Real Mccoy Spirits. Annual offerings, small batch products and special distiller’s editions are all part of most companies’ lineups these days. Figure out what special offerings your favorite producers may have and start trying to dig up those bottles.

Do a Bit of Traveling

Although your local store will likely always be the center of your collecting, it often pays to travel for good liquor. Differences in distribution make certain rare spirits more widely available in certain markets than others. As a result, you may be able to find new and exciting things by traveling. This is especially true if you’re a bourbon lover, since many of the best deals can be found in the state of Kentucky itself. Even if you’re traveling for business or on a vacation, consider stopping at liquor stores along the way to see what they may have.

These steps should get you started, but it will still take a good amount of time to build up your liquor collection. Don’t expect to get everything you want right away, since some rare liquors can take years to track down.