Chicken Bones Liqueur brings out long lines, sells out in minutes

Chicken Bones Liqueur brings out long lines, sells out in minutes

The lineup outside a New Brunswick Liquor store went around the block Tuesday morning as people waited hours to buy a mash-up of two holiday traditions in the province: liquor and Chicken Bones.

Anna Caissie was at the Fredericton store at 7:30 a.m., waiting for the doors to open at 10 so she could buy Chicken Bone Liqueur. 

She'd never even tasted the liqueur although she had a home-made version of it.

"We just faked it in the past with the Fireball and chocolate," said Caissie, among more than 100 people waiting.

She and her son woke up early to get a spot near the front of the line. 

Shane Fowler/CBC News

"I did it for the Cabbage Patch dolls back in the '80s," said Caissie. "So I figured, yeah, I can do this." 

She later emerged from the liquor store victorious. 

Chicken Bones, cinnamon-flavoured hard candies stuffed with chocolate, are made by Ganong Bros. in St. Stephen.

For each bottle of Chicken Bones Liqueur, Moonshine Creek Distillery in Waterville, north of Woodstock, grinds up and melts down a half-pound of the candy to blend with corn whisky.

A 500 ml bottle of the liqueur sells for $39.99. The first batch of 2,500 bottles sold out in less than 48 hours last month, with requests for the truly New Brunswick drink coming in from across the country. 

The second batch went on sale at select NB Liquor stores on Tuesday.

When the liquor store doors opened in uptown Fredericton, the expectant queue cheered, as sleepy consumers shuffled in single-file. Most walked away empty-handed. 

Not Heidi Cohoon. She and her husband, Forrest Pretty, led the charge.  

"Chicken Bones has been a big thing in our family for generations," said Cohoon. "We don't go a Christmas without having Chicken Bones in the house. And this will be something nice and new."  

They managed to grab six bottles of the liqueur for themselves and family members. 

Shane Fowler/CBC News

There was no limit to the number of bottles customers were allowed to buy.  Dan Little came away with 15 bottles. 

"I'm retired," said Little, who was about 40th in line. "And everybody said 'If you don't mind, go to the store and get me a bottle, so I'm collecting bottles for a lot of people.'" 

Within five minutes of the store's opening, people were staggering out defeated, with shouts of  "Sold out" directed toward those still waiting in line. 

Shane Fowler/CBC News

They included Krista Phillips, who was about 75th in line, hoping to buy a bottle for her best friend's daughter working in Calgary. 

"I'm really disappointed, because I really wanted to do this for her," said Phillips. 

But standing on the sidewalk while the dejected horde shuffled by, a ray of hope came from her phone.

"Actually, I'm just ordering it online, and I think it's gone through," said Phillips. "That's going to be a happy girl in Calgary."