Alcohol sales rose dramatically during the coronavirus pandemic as some relieved stress with an adult beverage. But now, that could change as liquor shortages are metastasizing across parts of the U.S.
Internet searches for "liquor shortage" have exploded to record highs this summer, especially in states like Michigan, North Carolina, South Carolina, Illinois, and Ohio.
According to local news reports in several states, liquor shortages are developing and leaving shelves bare.
"I've never had it this bare," a bar manager in Durham, North Carolina, told ABC Action News.
"Broadly speaking, there have been strains on the global supply chains of a variety of products throughout the entire pandemic, and not just here," North Carolina Alcoholic Beverage Control Commission spokesperson Austin McCall told Salon. "The retail demand for spirituous liquor has remained high even as more bars and restaurants have opened in recent months, straining supply even further."
Take a labor shortage involving a lack of truck drivers, dock workers, and warehouse employees, then shake that up with backed up docks, slower manufacturing processes and more expensive raw materials, and you get a quick lesson in how supply chain economics is having a direct impact on small businesses all over the U.S. Everything from the labor market and the sudden re-opening of bars to a lack of glass bottles and aluminum cans is blamed for liquor shortages reported in Winooski, Vermont; Durham, North Carolina; and Sioux Falls, South Dakota. -Forbes
The consequences of the virus pandemic have resulted in more alcohol consumption in the U.S. So far, there's no indication on social media of panic buying. But as we've seen before, that can abruptly change.