Supply Chain Woes: Glass Bottle Shortage Could Make Wine and Liquor Hard to Get for the Holidays

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During the holiday season, Americans love to gather with friends, eat and, in many cases, drink. Liquor stores have their biggest revenue days on New Year’s Eve, Christmas Eve and Thanksgiving Eve, with sales spiking by 159%, 151% and 130%, respectively, Womply reported

See: The End of Supply Chain Issues Is Coming, Just Not in Time for the HolidaysFind: Should You Refinance Now With the Low Mortgage Rates?

However, supply chain struggles this year could make it harder for people to get the wine and spirits they want, CNBC reported. David Ozgo, chief economist for the Distilled Spirits Council, told CNBC, “Some of the large distillers, even though they have multiyear contracts for millions of bottles, they’re finding in some instances that they have to pick and choose as to which bottle sizes they’re going to get.”

That means if you’re looking for a stocking stuffer or small gift, you may have to spring for a larger size bottle. Ozgo added that the shortages could lead to tighter supplies of smaller bottles, since suppliers are more likely to focus on more popular 750-ml. and 1.75-liter bottles.

To combat the problem, some distilleries are changing suppliers and shipping methods to get glass bottles faster. With the price of sea freight rising — shipping containers are going for $6,000 to $20,000 — some distilleries are relying on air freight to reduce delays or seeking closer distributors that can transport via rail.

See: How to Avoid Supply Chain Issues Interfering With Your Holiday ShoppingFind: Where to Splurge and Where to Save on Holiday Spending

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Distilleries and wineries are making other adjustments, too, such as placing orders two years in advance and raising prices to adjust for added costs.

New York-based Waterloo Containers has been supplying domestically manufactured wine and spirits bottles to its clients and, as a result, has filled double the usual orders. While the company increased prices quite a bit on bottles made from imported glass, domestic bottles saw smaller increases due to higher freight and energy costs, Waterloo president and owner Bill Lutz told CNBC.

For consumers seeking their favorite wine and spirits to celebrate the holidays, there’s no need to panic just yet. If you’re set on a specific size bottle, a limited-edition gift or a specific drink, however, you may need to give yourself extra shopping time and hit a few stores. Ozgo recommends taking the opportunity to try a new brand of liquor, pointing out that there are more than 16,000 spirits-based products on the market.

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