Just like every other item on the shelf, supply chain issues and high gas prices are affecting alcohol sales and distribution throughout West Michigan. Not only are these shortages hurting my wallet, they're hurting my pint glass too!

To offset rising production costs many distributors and breweries, like Bell's, have had to increase the price of their products. It's hard enough finding everyday items like cat food, chicken wings, and bacon, but now there's a possible liquor shortage? That is too far.

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The disruption in alcohol distribution is a product of the times. It all started with the Covid-19 pandemic and it hasn't really covered ever since. The pandemic led to a shortage in laborers and truck drivers, which led to supply chain issues, and now we can thank the conflict between Russia and Ukraine for driving up gas prices and therefore alcohol prices.

The Michigan Liquor Control Commission met earlier this month to discuss supply chain issues with retailers and suppliers who say orders that liquor orders that typically took up to two months to fulfill are now delayed up to seven months- or longer!

When it comes to beer in particular the problem is two-fold, as in addition to all the pandemic shortages and rising gas prices, Ukraine and Russia are also both big barley producers-- a key ingredient to making beer.

John Mallett, the VP of Operations at Bell's Brewery, told WZZM that although Bell's does not get their barley supply directly from Ukraine there is a trickle-down effect that extends from Ukraine's influence in the global barley market. That impact is now being felt on the local level.

To make matters worse, one of the largest stainless steel plants in Ukraine was damaged and is now affecting the production of brewing equipment such as stainless steel brewing tanks.

Says Mallet, "I just think we're seeing inflationary pressures and perhaps those are execrated by war of Ukraine, supply chain and COVID-19, shortages of cans. There's a long list of horribles there."

Have you noticed an increased price on your favorite adult beverage?

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