Alcohol shortages a sobering reality facing Ohio’s bars, restaurants

Ohio Headlines
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October 31 2021 11:59 pm

COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — Rationing of your favorite whiskey, tequila, or scotch may be coming to a bar or restaurant near you, due to supply-chain problems and high demand.

Problems in the supply chain create shortages, says spokesman for Middle West Spirits, Victor Spotloe, and the solution is to buy local.

Spotloe believes Ohio might see liquor buying restrictions like those announced on Thursday in Pennsylvania, where the liquor control board (PLCB) put two-bottles-per-day purchase limits on 43 items at state stores. The rationing will remain in place indefinitely according to a spokesperson for the PLCB.

Ohio Liquor’s own statistics show that tequila and scotch suppliers could fulfill about half the demand from customers last week.

“There is supply chain interruption everywhere,” said Spotloe, National Sales Manager for Middle West Spirits on Courtland Avenue. “The states cannot actually access the product — it’s not just the restaurant and bars. So if the state or the wholesaler doesn’t have access to those products because of supply-chain interruption, then the end-game and end result is that your retailers and your restaurant tours will not have access to the product either.”

Supply-chain interruption means getting bottles, cardboard, cork, grain is harder, as well as transportation.

“A lot of this is being driven by supply-chain interruption, whether it’s access to glass or cardboard, whether it’s access to cork, grain, or even material, literally impacting everything from New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc to French Champagne, to whiskey, scotch, tequila…and brandy.”

Prices may increase to slow volume, giving alcohol manufacturers the chance to catch up says Spotloe.

Meanwhile, award-winning brands are on your doorstep, with Middle West Spirits taking away two trophies from a recent American Whiskey convention. And there are other award-winning alcohol manufacturers in Columbus which produce alcohol here.

According to a spokesperson for Ohio Liquor, “Historically, certain categories trend for demand. Currently, it is bourbon, tequila, and cognac. This current trend is worldwide — not just in Ohio.

“Suppliers are trying to keep up with consumer demand in all markets, including Ohio. Ohio gets more than its fair share (please see chart below). Only 24 items of the top 521 items the suppliers were not able to keep pace with demand on any given day — less than five percent — during FY2021,” the Ohio Liquor spokesperson said.

Bars and restaurants are competing with each other for supplies, as well as walk-ups. There is product available, it just might not be the size they want, the spokesperson said. Ohio Liquor will also work with restaurant and bar owners to get specific products out of stock at their agency. On-premise permit holders can call the Liquor Enterprise Service Center for help: 1-877-812-0013.

Ohio Liquor provided this graphic. The first column represents the percentage the supplier is able to provide vs. demand.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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