WRIC, Kerry O'Brien - January 10, 2022
CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, VA (WRIC) — It could be a dry January for some people, whether they were planning on it or not as Virginia ABC stores around the state are still struggling to fill shelves.
At the ABC store at Stonebridge Plaza in Chesterfield, customers found row after row of empty shelves. Tawni Schilling, a shopper at the store, said her favorite spirits have been out of stock since November.
“Can’t find Hennessy, can’t find Courvoisier anywhere, since like Thanksgiving,” she said.
Supply chain issues, like imports being hung up at the port, combined with delivery delays and the recent holidays is making it difficult for Virginia ABC employees to restock the shelves.
Travis Hill, Virginia ABC’s CEO, said inventory is normally lower after holidays. However, he said stores are experiencing an all-time shortage recently, with 255 items out of stock.
“What COVID did with the supply chain disruptions, it just doubled on it,” Hill said.
ABC carries more than 5,000 products and employees are trying to find customers an alternative beverage when they can. Hill is hopeful relief is on the way.
“We had some truck go out on Saturday in the Richmond area, we got more out today,” Hill said.
Still, he said from what he hears, it’s going to be a while before the booze is back lining the shelves.
“It may be the middle of ’22 or beyond before we really start to see predictable shipments,” Hill said.
Booze is big business for the Commonwealth, Virginia ABC had record sales in fiscal year 2021, generating more than $616 million in revenue . Sales went up by 14% from 2020. Hill credits and thanks to Virginia ABC employees for the success. He says they’ve worked through multiple challenges since the pandemic started in 2020.
However, Hill said he thinks growth will slow this year because of these supply issues but that Virginia ABC will still generate revenue for the state.