'Instead of one bottle, buy two': Local stores and restaurants see delays on imported wine, liquor

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MILWAUKEE, Wis. (CBS 58) -- From wine stores to restaurants, issues with the supply chain could mean a customer's favorite adult beverage is out of stock.

"I hesitate to tell anybody to hoard anything, but if you have a favorite brand of wine (or spirit), next time you to go the liquor store ... I would say instead of maybe one bottle, buy two bottles," Chris Marsicano, president of the Tavern League of Wisconsin, told CBS 58.

The shelves are completely full of wine at Thief Wine Shop and Bar, but owner Phil Bilodeau said he has noticed delays in the supply chain.

"I'm running low on something, and I'll order it and the distributor says, 'I'm out, it's gonna be a next week. And then ope, it's going to be two weeks from now. Ope, three weeks from now. Ope, it's not in yet,'" Bilodeau said.

He said the delays he's seeing are on imported wines.

"Wine is available, but certain wines I know I've noticed that have been out of stock for a lot longer than they normally are," he said.

Brandon Scholz, president and CEO of the Wisconsin Grocers Association, said grocery stores aren't having a hard time keeping liquor stores shelved, and it's unlikely customers' favorite items will disappear from store shelves. But customers looking for some niche products may need to substitute one wine for another. 

"You'll find supplies of the Dom Pérignons of the world out of France and certain wines out of New Zealand challenged. You might find a wine somewhere out of California that may have an issue," he said.

Scholz explained that the wine issues in New Zealand and France are because of production and weather-related issues, and the issues in California are due to forest fires.

"Everybody in one way or another has been affected by supply chain problems, which emanates from raw materials shortage to a workforce shortage to a production shortage," Scholz said.

Marsicano said as an example, meat prices are "sky high," which may lead to higher prices for customers. Bars and restaurants are finding that they can't order certain wines, liquors and foods.

"I just did an order for my restaurant. And out of the 10 things I ordered, five were out of stock or I couldn't get right now because they're just not able to get them to market," he said.

Another issue? A glass shortage that Marsicano said stems from glass manufacturing shutting down during the pandemic.

"Jack Daniels is bottled in the iconic square bottles, and they're out of square bottles. And so Jack Daniels is having a shortage of getting things to market," he said.

Bilodeau said wine stores are experiencing more uncertainty about what's available at a given time. Here's his advice for customers:

"If there is a wine they absolutely have their heart set on, check with a retailer to see is this available? Is there going to be an issue? And if so, then snap it up,"  Bilodeau said.

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