NC liquor shortage continues, but key changes have increased supplies, ABC officials say

North Carolina

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — The North Carolina Alcoholic Beverage Control Commission says they have responded with key changes after a widespread liquor shortage throughout the state earlier this year caused in part by the botched implementation of a new inventory system.

The head of the commission abruptly resigned in September just as the commission was having tremendous problems with a newly purchased inventory control system.

Officials said Thursday that there are still “supply challenges for a variety of products (that) are ongoing.”

A.D. “Zander” Guy cited stress from the shortage when he quit in mid-September.

A new vendor, LB&B Associates, began a new contract on July 1 managing the warehouse and delivery services for the ABC Commission. An attorney for the company admitted to problems.

Various ABC boards across the state were not receiving their expected liquor shipments, which are sent from two warehouses in Wake County and are controlled by the ABC Commission.

About 170 Alcohol Beverage Control Boards across the state dominate the sale, distribution, and prices of liquor. It is a system that has been in place since the 1940s.

The ABC Commission held a meeting Wednesday. A spokesman for the group said that one change to help alleviate shortages is “direct shipments from suppliers to local ABC boards.”

Officials also said they are working “collaboratively with local ABC boards and industry partners to increase shipments and product availability for customers.”

In November, a total of 782,145 cases of product were shipped, which is a 43 percent increase since July 2021, ABC Commission spokesman Jeff Strickland said in an email.

Also last month, total sales at all ABC stores across North Carolina were $145,982,864 which is an increase of 15.97 percent from Nov. 2020, when total monthly sales were $125,883,734.

“While product availability is dynamic, cases of spirituous liquor shipped from the warehouse to local ABC boards have increased significantly since the transition to the new warehouse and distribution contract in July 2021,” Strickland said.

On Monday, Gov. Roy Cooper appointed Hank Bauer to be the chairman of the ABC Commission.

The Associated Press and WJZY contributed to this report

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