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Liquor Shortages


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I ran into a wine sales rep at Ralphs (Kroger) yesterday. After teasing him that a few of his labels were not forward facing, I asked about his supply chain. No worries he assured me. He was putting up a big display. Don't recall the vineyard selections - glasses/mask/stem issue.

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Liquor stores here are fairly well stocked, but we're having lots of trouble with this, as a bar. I suppose they're not quite as dependent on specific products as a boutique cocktail bar - For example, if our house bourbon is out, they can fill the gap with 20 other brands.

 

For us:

 

Shipping delays, product shortages, delivery issues, you name it. Our house cognac was discontinued, and now the replacement we chose for it is out of stock until god knows when. Our house gin (Hayman's) was held up making it across the pond. Don't even ask about Chartreuse - whether you want Green or Yellow, you can't have it depending on when you place your order. Special rum that we were getting allocated is taking MONTHS longer to arrive - partially hindered by the fact that a certain rum from Jamaica has to go to the West Coast before it comes to DC. Numerous products are just sitting in containers on the docks waiting to be loaded on to a ship. Meanwhile, the country's largest liquor distributor, Southern Glazer's routinely misses 1, 2, or even 3 weeks of orders.

 

 

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I wonder if they're (the distributors) more intent on fulfilling their retailer's shelves.

 

IMG_5005.thumb.JPG.2adcb919fa1b9f8a46cdb498f9092ee2.JPG

 

That's a local dive store, but I am headed over to Astor in a few hours. That should be interesting, as someone asked me for a specific product they are having trouble getting in Massachusetts.

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Mitch Weinstein aka "weinoo"

Tasty Travails - My Blog

My eGullet FoodBog - A Tale of Two Boroughs

Was it you baby...or just a Brilliant Disguise?

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Ive sometimes check TotalWine

 

( my local ) out of curiosity.

 

its a very large liquor / wine / beer / and yes ,cigar store.

 

currently Chartreuse ( green ) 750 cc is out of stock locally

 

yellow and smaller 350 cc green in stock.

 

750 is available at another store in my state.

 

 

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this might only interest me ;

 

is a distributors profit  different 

 

for a large ( say Total Wine ) outlet

 

than smaller individual bar/restaurant outlets ?

 

given ' tight ' supply

 

supply should move  where profit is higher

 

possibly including total volume / vendor.

 

 

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On 9/28/2021 at 8:49 PM, btbyrd said:

 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.

Funny, just the other day I acquired Maker's 46 and absolutely love it.  Light years better in nose and complexity than the standard Makers.  Not funny the state's handling of the shortage.  Below link mentions frustration rooting out the problem but the govt is addressing and the head of the liquor board resigned.  Perhaps this will spur privatization?  They have to consider the taxes generated from well run private stores vs what they take in from this archaic system.  In the meantime I'd go back for that 1.75 Knob Creek 9yr. That's a fantastic bourbon and decent value.  I asked about Virginia which didn't look far from you - not an option?  

 

https://wlos.com/news/local/liquor-shortages-on-north-carolina-shelves-gets-legislatures-attention

That wasn't chicken

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Astor was certainly loaded for bear. I was asked to bring a couple of bottles of Laird's Bonded apple brandy - no problem with that. And though I didn't spend a whole lot of time investigating, the shelves were full.

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Mitch Weinstein aka "weinoo"

Tasty Travails - My Blog

My eGullet FoodBog - A Tale of Two Boroughs

Was it you baby...or just a Brilliant Disguise?

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7 hours ago, Hassouni said:

Liquor stores here are fairly well stocked, but we're having lots of trouble with this, as a bar. I suppose they're not quite as dependent on specific products as a boutique cocktail bar - For example, if our house bourbon is out, they can fill the gap with 20 other brands.

 

For us:

 

Shipping delays, product shortages, delivery issues, you name it. Our house cognac was discontinued, and now the replacement we chose for it is out of stock until god knows when. Our house gin (Hayman's) was held up making it across the pond. Don't even ask about Chartreuse - whether you want Green or Yellow, you can't have it depending on when you place your order. Special rum that we were getting allocated is taking MONTHS longer to arrive - partially hindered by the fact that a certain rum from Jamaica has to go to the West Coast before it comes to DC. Numerous products are just sitting in containers on the docks waiting to be loaded on to a ship. Meanwhile, the country's largest liquor distributor, Southern Glazer's routinely misses 1, 2, or even 3 weeks of orders.

 

 

 

Saw a social media post that Nick's in Australia had Smith & Cross in stock and immediately went to the website to find out that it was sold out.

 

But it is sometimes hard to tell from the normal lack of availability. You would think that you could get Batavia Arrack since it is from our neighbour to the north.

It's almost never bad to feed someone.

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4 hours ago, haresfur said:

 

Saw a social media post that Nick's in Australia had Smith & Cross in stock and immediately went to the website to find out that it was sold out.

 

But it is sometimes hard to tell from the normal lack of availability. You would think that you could get Batavia Arrack since it is from our neighbour to the north.

 

Last time I saw Batavia Arrack I bought half a dozen bottles.  Batavia Arrack is a prime component of my beloved Mississippi punch.  What will the world do if Indonesia ever decides to go dry?  Lemonade will never be the same.

 

 

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5 hours ago, weinoo said:

Astor was certainly loaded for bear. I was asked to bring a couple of bottles of Laird's Bonded apple brandy - no problem with that. And though I didn't spend a whole lot of time investigating, the shelves were full.

 

I wish Astor was in walking distance.

 

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9 hours ago, JoNorvelleWalker said:

I wish Astor was in walking distance.

Even better is that they deliver to me for free. 

 

I see on their web site that shipping on a first order (over $99) is also free.

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Mitch Weinstein aka "weinoo"

Tasty Travails - My Blog

My eGullet FoodBog - A Tale of Two Boroughs

Was it you baby...or just a Brilliant Disguise?

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On 10/6/2021 at 2:53 PM, Eatmywords said:

Funny, just the other day I acquired Maker's 46 and absolutely love it.  Light years better in nose and complexity than the standard Makers.  Not funny the state's handling of the shortage.  Below link mentions frustration rooting out the problem but the govt is addressing and the head of the liquor board resigned.  Perhaps this will spur privatization?  They have to consider the taxes generated from well run private stores vs what they take in from this archaic system.  In the meantime I'd go back for that 1.75 Knob Creek 9yr. That's a fantastic bourbon and decent value.  I asked about Virginia which didn't look far from you - not an option?  

 

https://wlos.com/news/local/liquor-shortages-on-north-carolina-shelves-gets-legislatures-attention

 

Maker's 46 and Knob Creek are both fine products. I was actually able to pick up a proper sized bottle of the former on my latest trip to the store. But the prices on small bottles are often a lot higher per ounce than larger bottles here, so I avoid them. Sometimes there's no difference; sometimes there's a big difference. The most consistent thing that I semi-regularly purchase is Captain Morgan's Private Stock, which is 50% more expensive per ounce in a 750ml bottle compared to a 1.75L bottle.

 

Anyway, as you've noted, this issue has gotten a lot of attention since I posted. The head of the ABC commission resigned and the legislature held a special hearing on the issue. The crux of the problem is that all the booze in the state comes through only two warehouses in Raleigh. The private company operating those warehouses, which was just awarded a 10-year (!) exclusive contract, implemented a new inventory system and did it so poorly that nobody can get what they want -- stores, bars, restaurants are all screwed. Though they've identified the problem, it doesn't seem like it's very much closer to being solved; the shelves are still bare and it's impossible to plan ahead. I can't imagine operating a bar or restaurant in this kind of environment.

 

On 10/6/2021 at 9:49 AM, Hassouni said:

Liquor stores here are fairly well stocked, but we're having lots of trouble with this, as a bar. I suppose they're not quite as dependent on specific products as a boutique cocktail bar ....

...

 

You've got my sympathies. I can't imagine trying to keep a place like The Green Zone stocked during times like this. I realize that the situation isn't as dire up there as it is down here, but given how driven your bar program is by exotic spirits, it's got to be a difficult time. But kudos on keeping your business open and your head up. 

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  • 2 weeks later...

@btbyrd

The NC problem is governmental.  The Chair of the ABC board just resigned.  The distribution contractor whose contract began in July implemented new software for ordering and inventory which coincides with the mess that started around that time.  The NC legislature held a hearing recently but didn't get a lot of answers, per this article.  

 

https://www.usnews.com/news/best-states/north-carolina/articles/2021-09-30/liquor-shortages-on-nc-shelves-gets-legislatures-attention

Edited by gulfporter (log)
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