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Liquor Shortages


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There is a massive lack of availability in my local liquor market, which is a poorly administered government monopoly in North Carolina. Here the only stores selling spirits are ABC stores run by local Alcohol Beverage Control boards that are accountable to the State ABC commission. It is a freaking nightmare right now. I went looking for tequila yesterday and the entire section was wiped out. It was in a similar state in two other visits I've made over the past month. Zero bottles of Patron, Don Julio, Cabo Wabo, Herradura, Espalon, or Milagro. Just rotgut and one or two $80+ bottles. The problem extends throughout the store. They had no Jack Daniels, except for a 375ml bottle of barrel proof. I got the last bottle of Wild Turkey 101. This was in off-peak hours on a weekday. Other customers were complaining about how they've been having trouble as well -- one gentleman was trying to get tequila for an upcoming vacation, but was distraught that nothing halfway decent was available. I asked the manager if the border with Mexico had been closed. He replied: "It looks like it." Well yeah, sir. That's why I asked.

 

Is it like this other places? Is this a COVID thing? Or is this just bureaucratic incompetence? I've always hated our ABC stores, especially after living in areas with free (or freer) markets like Chicago. But this is intolerable. 

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I've used PA and New Hampshire state stores, and a private store in Maryland  in the past couple weeks and there were no bare shelves or dwindling stock to be seen.  Perhaps the NC receiving department all went on vacation for the same week?

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Christopher D. Holst aka "cdh"

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Posted (edited)

I don't know why I didn't think to Google it, but it appears to be a statewide issue. A lot of the purported explanations (e.g., glass shortages, increased demand during COVID) don't make sense because neighboring states don't seem to be having issues. Apparently a big part of it is a lack of truck drivers. All of the liquor in the state comes through a single warehouse. What could possibly go wrong?! This is apparently impacting bars and restaurants as well as individual consumers. Another government success story! And so my hatred of the ABC Commission continues to grow.

Edited by btbyrd (log)
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Here's a photo from a news story of an ABC store in Charlotte. Things are no better here in Winston-Salem.

 

ABC_PlazaMidwood_resized.jpg.thumb.jpg.9fb8e75d0b5bdf2a108fc2238cea9a0a.jpg

 

Their selection sucks even in the best of times, but this feels like shopping for groceries Soviet Union. 

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Damn. That looks worse than after NC State and Jimmy V beat Houston in, what, 1985-ish?

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Don't ask. Eat it.

www.kayatthekeyboard.wordpress.com

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Virginia looks to be about 45min away.  Is that an option?  There aren't many reasons that would cause me to seriously contemplate moving out of my state but this would be one.   

That wasn't chicken

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58 minutes ago, btbyrd said:

 

Guess what you can't do in North Carolina.

 

(It's the last of your suggestions.)

PA is slowly allowing wine shipments. Who can and who cannot is mysterious. Fortunately I can shop in DE.

But the PA liquor control board does a pretty good job with wine. They are a megabuyer and get good prices. Liquor prices suck though.

 

The stores have many more employees than needed and are a nice little patronage job. 

 

As much as I think the state shouldn't be inthe booze business, they do a decent job of it

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13 hours ago, btbyrd said:

 

Guess what you can't do in North Carolina.

 

(It's the last of your suggestions.)

 

From what I think I'm reading, you can have wine shipped directly to you from out-of-state wineries, if they have the permit to do s0, which I think is free.

 

https://wineinstitute.compliancerules.org/state/north-carolina/

 

 

Edited by weinoo (log)

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43 minutes ago, rotuts said:

""  Volume Limit :  2 cases / person // month ""

 

even in February that leaves me a little short.

 

Actually, @rotuts - I read it:

 

Quote

 

Limits per Winery"

2 cases per person per month

 

 

As meaning you can order from as many wineries as you have room for.

 

 I am either a club member, or order from a few: Merry Edwards and Stonestreet being two of my favorite Sonoma makers.

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Mitch Weinstein aka "weinoo"

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  • 2 weeks later...

a liquor store in Kansas defied ABC and opened on Sunday.  They cited a loop hole in the law and won the law suit that followed.   It seems ABC  control as slipped since then.  In any case, liquor stores are well stocked with hard liquor. My complaint is the selection of wines has greatly narrowed since the Iraq war.  That was when some people started leaving "French" off of French fries.

Edited by Norm Matthews (log)
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"PA is slowly allowing wine shipments. Who can and who cannot is mysterious."

 

PA law allows direct ship to consumer, but requires the shipper aka winery - to register/get a license  from PA.

so now it's legal, but controlled to the point it does not much happen.

 

not all that many wineries have chosen to put up with the paperwork and expense of getting a direct ship licenses for 49 states  "not their own"

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  • 1 month later...

It has gotten worse. I took these tonight at the biggest store in the county. It isn’t a small county. 382,000 people live here, and we didn’t all raid this store on a Tuesday night. But more than tequila has vanished from the shelves. All the sections were like this.

 

But at least there’s gas at the pumps.

 

Vodka wall one.
8A52B2AB-F90D-42AE-A971-471380EDFFCA.thumb.jpeg.0e7c06223b2f4069011c438fe7c8b0ed.jpeg


A different vodka wall.

8611B432-FA77-4952-88D3-D8E83582E775.thumb.jpeg.fe93df020d18945c33b2d091b5fb50d3.jpeg

 

The tequila section faces us, and the rum shelves are on the opposite side of those shelves.

A71BBC62-26F9-4427-9056-82C513DC534E.thumb.jpeg.8a8aba89519e3af39ccea6554a581e69.jpeg
 

Bourbon.

 

AF7AD21F-0E90-4A58-8104-BFEDB14B9D9D.thumb.jpeg.0a18ff0e2aeb6f6397eac69c55d40543.jpeg

 

I emerged miraculously with the bottle of Milagro tequila I intended to buy. I couldn’t bring myself to buy a tiny bottle of Maker’s Mark 46 or a giant bottle of Knob Creek, so I escaped with a bottle of Rittenhouse (which they haven’t reliably had in stock recently).

 

This is bad. People should be losing their jobs and the system should be reformed. But since the state is in charge, nobody seems to care. Maddening.

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12 hours ago, btbyrd said:

It has gotten worse. I took these tonight at the biggest store in the county. It isn’t a small county. 382,000 people live here, and we didn’t all raid this store on a Tuesday night. But more than tequila has vanished from the shelves. All the sections were like this.

 

But at least there’s gas at the pumps.

 

Vodka wall one.
8A52B2AB-F90D-42AE-A971-471380EDFFCA.thumb.jpeg.0e7c06223b2f4069011c438fe7c8b0ed.jpeg


A different vodka wall.

8611B432-FA77-4952-88D3-D8E83582E775.thumb.jpeg.fe93df020d18945c33b2d091b5fb50d3.jpeg

 

The tequila section faces us, and the rum shelves are on the opposite side of those shelves.

A71BBC62-26F9-4427-9056-82C513DC534E.thumb.jpeg.8a8aba89519e3af39ccea6554a581e69.jpeg
 

Bourbon.

 

 

 

I emerged miraculously with the bottle of Milagro tequila I intended to buy. I couldn’t bring myself to buy a tiny bottle of Maker’s Mark 46 or a giant bottle of Knob Creek, so I escaped with a bottle of Rittenhouse (which they haven’t reliably had in stock recently).

 

This is bad. People should be losing their jobs and the system should be reformed. But since the state is in charge, nobody seems to care. Maddening.

Odd.  The liquor stores hereabouts are all well-stocked.

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it is odd.

 

I went ( on-line ) to my local TotalWine.

 

typed in tequila

 

and they had a large selection .

 

only one or two were " check nearby "

 

Im not a T fan as such , but there were a lot of T's @ TW.

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I haven't noticed empty shelves in any of the stores that sell liquor here.  We can buy bottle liquor in supermarkets, convenience stores, warehouse stores (etc....) along with the normal liquor stores and distilleries/restaurants.  

 

I am hearing about a glass bottle shortage though, which it supposed to be making liquor distribution slower.

 

 

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at my local TJ's

 

which only sells wine and beer , 

 

( a Township prerogative - Tj's  a town closer to Boston sells liquor )

 

there are a few gaps on there wine shelves  

 

not a  lot

 

I asked

 

they were not aware of a glass shortage

 

they do have delivery problems and delays 

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