Getting a Drink May Take a While With Supply Chain Delays A bartender makes cocktails at Oasis on July 29, 2021 in San Francisco, California. (Justin Sullivan/Getty)
By Jeremy Frankel | Sunday, 22 August 2021 09:24 PM
Liquor orders are being delayed due to supply chain issues as more guests eat out after COVID-19 restrictions lifted around the country, according to SupplyChainDive.com.
“[T]he turnaround time used to be anywhere from 2 to 3 hours, now it's been almost 48 hours,” Hunter Thurston, the liquor buyer and bartender at The Crunkleton in Charlotte, N.C., told the website.
“[I]f you're a small business, big business, whatever it is … you place your liquor order, you got to hope that everything is in stock, and that the system is updated,” he added.
He also said liquor shortages have impacted premium, mid-shelf and lower-tier products alike, and that supply chain issues have continued since the end of June.
After coronavirus mandates were lifted, restaurants and bars throughout North Carolina have struggled to fill shelves with alcohol, and, as demand increased when more people were started going out to eat and drink, the issue continued.
The North Carolina Spirits Association and Mecklenburg County Alcoholic Beverage Control Board issued a joint statement in July addressing the product challenges, saying that "[E]asing COVID 19 restrictions has resulted in an explosive comeback in the on premise industry. Consumer retail sales in Mecklenburg County ABC stores continues to outpace prior year sales. The increased demand on both sides contribute to the current conditions.”
Constellations Brand CEO Williams Newlands raised other issues, such as shipping delays and transport interruptions. Brown-Forman CFO Jane Morraeu said its decrease in distributor and retail inventories compared to before the pandemic was due to “a confluence of transportation and logistics disruptions that include faltering service from rail and ocean carriers and lack of capacity in trucking markets and shipping containers, which are impacting inventory levels in the U.S. and abroad.”
Brown-Forman and others have also experienced steel and glass shortages. This impacts the supply of both glass bottles and metal bottle caps, with both becoming more expensive and requiring more time to receive.
SupplyChainDive says the one common denominator is that no one seems to know when or where supply chain disruptions will end, and that they seem to vary in different locations.