New York liquor stores feel impact of nationwide alcohol shortage

Onondaga County

SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WSYR) — Liquor store sales skyrocketed at the onset of the pandemic, while other places struggled to stay open. But now some of those liquor stores are struggling due to a nationwide shortage of alcohol.

Vinomania in Syracuse is one of the stores across the state feeling the impact. “Sometimes you just got to put a sign out of stock,” said Gary Decker, owner of Vinomania Liquor Store.

From whiskey to chardonnay—whether it’s top-shelf brands or just your average bottle of wine—it’s either out of stock or there’s only a few—or even just one!—bottle left. “There’s a couple wines where you just can’t get them anymore and of course the liquor that’s always tough anyways, especially the big brands,” said Decker. “Some of those are just gone.”

“Things like bourbons and whiskey” are in short supply, Decker explained. “The funky stuff everybody is looking for, and even some of the mainstream stuff isn’t there either.”

Nearly six months ago, Decker says he started feeling the burn. “It’s a combination of the labor, a combination of the trucking, and it’s a combination of the people that have to make the product that wine and liquor goes into,” he said. “It’s like a perfect storm.”

He says the shortage just keeps getting worse, and he’s afraid it’s going to continue. “Coming to January and November, December are going to kind of really build-up,” he said. “You are really going to see it then, where you walk in and you’ll be looking for brand B instead of brand A.”

Decker says even though there is a shortage right now, he will not be putting a limit on any of his wine or spirits. He also will not be increasing prices. Instead, he encourages shoppers to get a head start on their holiday shopping before the shelves are empty.

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