National supply chain issues having negative impacts on alcohol supply

Supply chain issues are impacting alcohol production
Published: Oct. 25, 2021 at 10:30 PM CDT
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Lake Charles, LA (KPLC) - Supply chain issues are impacting the alcohol supply in the U.S., and it’s making alcohol more expensive and difficult for bars and liquor stores to get.

“I have so many empty shelves. In the two years of doing this, I’ve never seen anything like this,” gas station chain owner Ali Ali said.

Local businesses are being hit hard by the national alcohol shortage.

“We’re going into the holiday season, so this is where I’m going to sell most of my liquor,” Ali said. “Especially with Mardi Gras coming up, I can’t have these out of stock.”

Disruptions related to the pandemic are affecting the global supply chain. Because of that, we are seeing nationwide shortages of many common products, including alcohol.

“These are issues that aren’t just - we can’t get the product. This, obviously, goes up and affects the entire supply chain,” Lake Street Liquor owner Ashely Rozas said.

Local liquor store owners say it’s not necessarily an alcohol shortage but a glass shortage that is causing the problem.

“With the glass shortage, even though there may be juice available, they have to wait for the glass to be there,” Rozas said.

Rozas adds that her distributors say their main problem getting alcohol out to customers is the labor shortage. This is not only affecting liquor stores, but most businesses nationwide.

Rozas says many of their popular products are on back-order.

“We’re months out on certain things such as like high-end champagnes for example,” Rozas said. “The holidays are coming up, so that was my big question last week was - ‘okay, I know we can’t get it right now, but as projecting, what are we gonna be able to have for Christmas?’ And that’s going to affect us.”

Rozas says she doesn’t think this is an easy or quick fix but thinks we will be seeing this shortage for a while because of the backlog it has caused.

“This is something that’s gonna be going on for a while because everyone’s playing catch-up,” Roza said.

Rozas and Ali both agree they are seeing the shortages mainly in anything that is created in a glass bottle, imported alcohol, and anything that requires an aging process, such as bourbon and tequila.

Ali adds that he is having other shortages in his gas station that have stemmed from the glass shortage. Most notably, he said he has been having shortages of the premade glass Starbucks coffee drinks, and when he does get the shipments in, they go quickly.

Ali also says that many of the distributors have tried to make up for these shortages and says they are doing the best they can since the shortages are also affecting them. He said recently one of the main distributors made holiday packs, along with sending what they have.

Roza says there have been shifts in shortages, such as an aluminum shortage during the beginning of the pandemic - affecting alcohol production and sales. But she says no matter what the shortage shifts to next, the demand for alcohol isn’t changing.

“There’s still a demand for alcohol, and it has increased,” Rozas said.

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