Even your alcohol is not immune to COVID.
If you see your favorite bottle of New Years champagne or that special malt whiskey you’ve been looking for your uncle for Christmas on the shelves, you might want to buy it now.
The LCBO, like nearly every other retailer, says it has been hit by supply chain problems caused by the global pandemic.
Champagne is still in short supply, a spokesperson said, although it has not completely disappeared. Single malt Scotch whiskey, tequila and Southern Hemisphere wines also face delays.
“While we continue to experience global challenges in the supply of champagne and anticipate that some brands will be more available than others, at this time we expect more shipments to arrive in the coming weeks,” said the LCBO spokesperson.
“In general, Champagne remains available in LCBO stores. This holiday season, we encourage customers to shop early and perhaps take the opportunity to explore new products, ”the spokesperson said.
Everything from blocked shipments Ports shortages of shipping containers, glass and metal are causing three- to six-week delays in the arrival of high-demand imports, according to Nick Nanos, LCBO’s director of supply chain.
“We are experiencing most of the supply chain challenges with products that are imported into Canada and are in high demand from customers around the world. In some cases, additional factors such as a shortage of raw materials and difficult growing conditions also limit the amount of inventory available from some suppliers, ”Nanos said in an email.
In a letter to importers and customers, Nanos noted that champagne, single malt Scotch whiskey, tequila and wines from Australia, New Zealand and South America are at particular risk of delays. South Africa, another large wine supplying country, has also experienced shipping delays.
The director of Drinks Ontario, a trade association of importers, says there is no need to panic and there will be plenty of options. It may not be exactly the vintage, brand name, or bottle size you originally expected.
“Hopefully, you can find your favorites. If not, there are many good options. It can be an opportunity for people to try new things, ”said Jim Lisser, CEO of Drinks Ontario.
Lisser commended LCBO for working with suppliers and import agents to minimize the impact of supply chain problems.
“The LCBO has been a great partner and they started planning this in the spring,” Lisser said.
In addition to supply chain problems, some products have also been affected by an increase in demand. Tequila has seen annual sales growth of 40 to 50 percent in North America in recent years, according to some industry estimates.
In some regions, poor harvests have led to shortages of supplies. In New Zealand’s case, a 20 percent drop in the size of the country’s grape crop this year meant there were seven to eight million fewer cases of Sauvignon blanc from its coveted Marlborough region.
And just as some of that New Zealand wine was finally making its way across the Pacific, deadly floods and landslides hit British Columbia in recent weeks, halting rail transportation and many truck routes from the Port of Vancouver. .
While late-arriving wine isn’t spoiled, unlike fresh produce, even a delay of a few weeks or a month can cost wineries business during a key sales period like holidays, Maryna said. Calow, director of marketing for Wines of South Africa. .
“It’s the (increased) lead time and the possible lack of promotional spaces,” Calow said of the greater impact of supply chain issues.
South African wineries are also nervous about a reduction in tourism due to fears of the locally discovered Omicron variant. Holidays are a busy time for wine tourism in South Africa, Calow said.
“These companies were looking for some kind of recovery after what we’ve been through,” Calow said. “This kind of knee-jerk reaction to stop travel to South Africa just because our scientists managed to discover this variant is quite damaging.”
Still, what is a potential problem for foreign wineries is an opportunity for local wineries, admits Richard Linley, president of the Ontario Craft Wineries trade association.
“This is definitely an opportunity for our members and Ontarians to discover how good our wines are. We have some of the best wines in the world right here at home, ”said Linley.
While Ontario wineries have not been immune from the economic ravages of COVID, they have a huge advantage over imports, Linley added: easy access to local stores, restaurants and domestic customers.
“Our wines do not need to be shipped from the other side of the world. They can be on QEW or 401 and be in the greater Toronto area in an hour or two, ”Linley noted.
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