Alcohol shortage: why North Carolina is more affected than other states

CHARLOTTE, NC (FOX 46 CHARLOTTE) – “Tequila is really hard to come by right now. I know Tito’s is hard to come by, ”Fenwick’s general manager told Charlotte Dustin Rabb. “Just in the latter case, I ordered 10 bottles and got four of the liquor order.”

About 170 liquor control boards across the state dominate the sale, distribution, and pricing of alcohol. It’s a system that has been around since the 1940s.

Every bottle on bar shelves comes from the same distribution center and is labeled.

“Lately, it seems like every inventory item I type into the order form for ABC is either out of stock, out of stock, out of stock. All of them, ”said Daniel Weiss of Wine Loft in South End.

A Charlotte ABC employee said inventory on the shelves was light due to a lack of delivery drivers and glass.

Those who serve alcohol for a living say the shortage is also linked to the amount of alcohol consumed in the past two years.

“I feel it like during the pandemic; consumption has increased considerably. I feel like a lot of inventory has gone down and some of these spirits are taking a long time to age, ”Weiss said.

Just across the border, South Carolina’s private liquor stores offer plenty of options.

“Right now, North Carolina currently has about 500-700 spirits available in stock. We currently have almost 6000 different spirits at Southern Spirits, so when people say, “Wow, there are a lot more available” people kept coming and started telling their friends about it and that has definitely boosted sales and customer numbers, ”said Drew Podrebarac, owner of Southern Spirits.

Efforts in North Carolina to shut down ABC stores have been put to a vote in recent years and have not been successful.

Two Guilford County lawmakers sponsored a bill in 2019 that would have allowed privatized stores to sell alcohol.

That same year, Mecklenburg County Commissioners approved a resolution to continue ABC stores.

“This is how I did it and how it’s going to be. I don’t think that’s going to change, ”Rabb said.

While some brands are more difficult to obtain than others, Rabb said they will continue to have alcohol on their shelves.

“There is a concern of running out of it, but I think they will always have something in the vodka, tequila, bourbon category,” Rabb said.

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