The Lead

Wine & Spirits customers encouraged to ‘shop early’ for the holiday season

By: - November 4, 2021 4:56 pm

A Fine Wine & Good Spirits state store in Harrisburg (Capital-Star photo).

As the holiday season approaches – the busiest months for wine and spirits producers and sellers – industry experts and Pennsylvania’s state store system are urging consumers not to wait on buying  their beverages of choice. 

From increased demand for aged spirits, a shortage of glass bottles, and shipping issues, state and federal industry experts say they are seeing a “variety of issues.”

Peter Friedmann, executive director of the Agriculture Transportation Coalition, a Washington-D.C. based special interest group, said Thursday that the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has “exacerbated long standing issues” in the United States’ supply chain, adding that he doesn’t expect the end of the pandemic to be a resolution for supply chain issues. 

Couple increased consumption during the COVID-19 pandemic-induced shutdowns with pre-existing supply chain issues and you have a problem “years in the making,” Scott Moorad, chief operating officer of Hillebrand North America, a global logistics company, said. 

Pennsylvania has not been immune to these hurdles. 

“We are aware of other types of production issues,” Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board spokesperson Shawn Kelly told the Capital-Star, adding that the increased demand for aged products has meant that there’s “not enough to go around.” 

In September, the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board implemented a two-bottles-per-day limit at its 598 retail stores. 

Two is the limit as Pa.’s state-run liquor stores tackle supply chain disruptions, shortages

Since then, the list of rationed spirits has decreased slightly from 43 in September to 39 as of Thursday, Kelly told the Capital-Star. 

“We continue to monitor the situation and update the list,” Kelly said. 

But as the holiday season approaches, consumers could see many in-demand products become unavailable. 

To combat this, Kelly encouraged consumers to “shop early.”

“What we advise people to do is if you know there is a particular wine or spirit that you want going into Thanksgiving, Christmas or New Years – don’t wait,” Kelly said. 

Kelly also advised consumers to make a list before they head to the state store and if the item(s) they want are out of stock, ask staff to see what options are available. 

 “Our staff will be able to make appropriate substitution recommendations,” Kelly said. 

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