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Restaurant Supply

Liquor shortage impacts Charlotte restaurants, bars as owners struggle with low supply

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) – If you’ve been to an ABC store recently, you might have noticed empty shelves. That’s because North Carolina is dealing with a liquor shortage.

Your own bar might be feeling the effects, but it’s the restaurant and bar owners who are really struggling with the low supply.

“I mean everything’s a lot more work and it’s a lot harder,” said Jeff Tonidandel, who owns Supperland, along with several other restaurants.

That’s unfortunately been the motto for restaurant and bar owners this past year. First COVID-19, now a liquor shortage.

“It was aperol for a while. It was Pim’s. Some of those specialty things that there aren’t replacements for. You can’t just flip out another vodka, or tequila,” he said.

Supperland is a newer restaurant, that specializes in craft cocktails. The bar might seem full, but if you look closely, you’ll notice the gaps.

“We have a few cocktails we keg. We can’t keg those cocktails because we don’t have enough to put in the keg,” he said.

If you go to a local ABC store, the shelves are empty. Jeff Tonidandel says the restaurant supply stores are even worse.

“It’s the whole supply chain, sometimes it’s not having enough truck drivers,” he said.”

The main reason experts give is the truck driver shortage. Fewer working truck drivers mean less product gets delivered to distribution centers and that’s why we have been hearing about supply chain issues for everything from laundry detergent to liquor.

Bars across Charlotte are feeling the effects, including Hattie’s.

“I do know ABC has had a hard time finding enough truck drivers to go to Raleigh and pick up supplies,” said owner Jackie Deloach.

Thankfully, the shortage isn’t stopping customers from coming in. And that’s good news after a year of COVID challenges.

“We’re just lucky enough we have a great customer base and have loyal customers and a great neighborhood that supports. Throw whatever you have at us, we’re going to do the best we possibly can,” she said.

WBTV asked bar owners and workers at an ABC store when this might end. No one could quite give a definite answer, it just depends on the supply chain getting back on track.

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