Shelves at Virginia ABC don’t have Jack, or Jim, or much in the bourbon aisle at all. Supply chain issues are trickling down to local liquor stores.
“What do suppliers have in stock based on challenges they have with bottles and caps and labels? What trucks are available to get them here? All those things play into the out-of-stock situation on the inbounds side,” said Travis Hill, the CEO of Virginia ABC.
After the holidays, spirits are low anyways, but with current conditions, booze supply is even more barren.
“Typical year for us, we might have 50, 55, 60 out of stocks in the warehouse. We go everywhere right now, we’ve had up to 250.”
Supply chain issues aren’t the only thing impacting inventory. Like many businesses, Virginia ABC is facing challenges because of COVID. Staffing shortages are affecting stocking and distribution.
“If we don’t have the workers to pick the cases, then that can certainly create challenges at the store level. And then once we pick that truck, getting that truck to the store, you depend on a driver and a helper to get to the store,” Hill added.
In 2021 sales were up over 13% from the year before, compared to a typical 4-5% growth.
“That’s another challenge around the out of stocks is that you’ve just got a higher demand that we’re trying to fulfill.”
Virginia ABC’s goal is to stock back up before spring, but in the meantime, this winter is expected to be drier than usual.