As revelers stock up for New Year’s Eve festivities Friday, alcohol retailers and research firms are predicting some of us may be disappointed.
Across the country, liquor retailers are facing shortages of wine, beer and spirits as the result of supply-chain issues and the surge of demand during a very active holiday season.
According to IRI, a data and market analysis company, at least 11 percent of alcohol demand in the United States has not been met since mid-November 2021.
The shortage has seen ripple effects affecting retailers from coast to coast. Aaron Warren, owner of SLO Wine and Beer Co. in San Luis Obispo, Calif., remarked that stock is low at his business because of backup at shipping ports, an issue reported across the country.
“We feature roughly half of our wines from all over the world, so we are definitely impacted because all of those are sitting in the port of Long Beach,” Warren says in a NBC News4SA report, “Some of them aren’t bringing at all some brands. Some of them we have to wait like one month, sometimes two months.”
One retailer in Central Ohio says products held up include two popular choices this time of year: Champagne and Cognac.
“Anything you have to import into the country, it’s just a chain supply issue,” Zac Cochran, manager of Chateau Wine and Spirits in Dublin, Ohio told WBNS. “Hennessey’s been the big one; it’s been out for about three months now.”
While news reports across the country are dog-whistling price hikes, some claiming that alcohol was priced 1 percent more this November than in 2020, some experts are claiming that this data is overblown and misconstrued.
According to the Consumer Price Index by the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis, wine prices are up only 0.37 percent while whiskey prices have increased 3 percent, the highest jump in 20 years. While still increasing, these prices are not as severe or exponential as many are letting on. These price disparities are more likely the cause of a lack of discounts or sales offered by retailers.
“Because there has been higher demand, and not as much product available, you haven’t seen as much price discounting,” Jon Moramarco, industry analyst and managing partner at the consultancy bw166, told wine-searcher. “Wine is much more fragmented than spirits. Retailers have many more choices with wine.”
So this Friday, if the local liquor store doesn’t have all the bottles needed for your celebration, or if it might cost a couple more dollars, don’t sweat it. Just appreciate the fact that we can all (kind of) celebrate together again.