Alcohol supplies could be affected by supply chain issues

(The Center Square) – It might take a little more effort for Illinoisans to find that favorite booze to enjoy over the holidays.

The global supply chain issues that have caused shortages and price increases on a host of products could affect wine and spirits in some areas. The problems were sparked by the COVID-19 pandemic, which officials said has led to bottlenecks in the distribution network and labor shortages.

The Wall Street Journal reports that demand for liquor surged during the pandemic and since some of it takes years to make, some brands are now harder to find.

“The global supply chain is kind of like an orchestra,” said Scott Moorad, the Chief Operating Officer of the alcohol beverage company Hillebrand. “It is hard to turn the page when things change and the world around us is getting so dynamic and we are not nimble enough to always handle the different buying patterns and what’s going on.”

Booze is a cash cow for the state, as Illinois is near the top in the taxes placed on alcoholic beverages. The state taxes an additional $8.55 per gallon on liquor, $1.39 per gallon of wine, and 23 cents per gallon of beer.

A 2019 study from the nonpartisan Tax Foundation found that Illinois garnered the sixth-highest amount per capita in excise taxes during fiscal year 2016, before the state legalized recreational cannabis. Excise taxes are a tax on a specific good or activity and include “sin” taxes such as those on alcohol, tobacco, marijuana and gambling.

Multiple states have reported supply issues since September, with some like Pennsylvania instituting purchase limits to help ration liquor supplies.

Moorad said the current bottlenecks in the supply chain may stay in place for a while.

“How long is this going to last? None of us has that crystal ball,” Moorad said. “I think we do know that the short-term belief of it has gone away and this will be here sometime into 2022 and maybe even longer.”

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