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Supply chain issues causing shortages at some liquor stores

Badger Liquor Store
Posted at 6:42 AM, Nov 02, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-02 07:42:58-04

GREEN BAY (NBC 26) — If you’re looking to stock up on drinks for the upcoming holidays, you’d better get out quickly. Local liquor stores say supply chain issues, fueled by the pandemic and the workers shortage, are causing a shortage of several types of alcohol.

Ben Smits, owner of Badger Liquor Store in Green Bay says the supply chain issues have made stocking up on alcohol a guessing game.

 “It fluctuates. You never know what you’re going to get," Smits said. "Right now Miller High Life bottles is a big one, you could say Bud Light bottles, it could be Fireball next week for liquor. You just don’t know what you’re going to get.” 

He says another part of the problem isn’t just a shortage of the alcohol itself, but a shortage of packaging like glass bottles. 

“With glass bottles you just don’t know what’s going to come in or not," Smits said. "Budweiser’s a big one, Bud Light was a big one, Miller High Life was a big one, and if you do have it you only get a limited supply in.” 

He says his suppliers often can’t give him a definitive date for deliveries.

“The companies will tell you the date when something's supposed to come in but you can’t rely on that either. A lot of times that never happens," Smits said,

In addition, due to the shortage many suppliers have limited the amount that stores can buy, leaving store owners like Smits to compete with other stores in the area and local bars for a limited supply of products.

“We have to spread it around to all the stores," Smits said. "You have the bars that you have to worry about too that I’m competing with for the same product now. That’s just the way it is and I don’t know if it’s going to end anytime soon.” 

Smits says normally holidays like Thanksgiving and Christmas are some of his busiest times of the year, but with no way of knowing what he'll have in stock, he says this year he simply won't be able to satisfy everyone.

In the midst of the supply chain crisis, he recommends customers start shopping early before the holidays and call ahead to see if stores have the products you're looking for.

“It hurts because you can’t satisfy everybody," Smits said. "You want to and then people get angry and there’s nothing we can do about it. We’re stuck in the middle.”