What Happened to My Favorite Liquor?

February 7, 2022

For Immediate Release

February 7, 2022

Media Contact

Czelsi Gómez
Public Information Officer
Montana Department of Revenue
(406) 444-6700

What Happened to My Favorite Liquor?

HELENA — During fiscal year 2020 (July 1-June 30), the Alcoholic Beverage Control Division (ABCD) shipped out 935,539 cases of liquor. Historically, Montana liquor sales tend to increase approximately three percent per year. This means that normally ABCD would have expected to ship approximately 963,605 cases of liquor in fiscal year 2021. However, fiscal year 2021 was far from normal. During this last year, ABCD shipped 1,069,716 cases of liquor, a 14.34% increase over fiscal year 2020. This works out to 100,000 more cases of liquor shipped out the door than what we had anticipated.

The ABCD liquor warehouse strives to maintain inventory of the top 1,300 most popular products sold, as well as having an additional 4,153 products available through special order. Currently, we have 2.58 million bottles, cans, and other various containers of product in the warehouse. This inventory is the equivalent of 168,517 cases!

According to the numbers above, there is plenty of product available in Montana. In fact, halfway through the current fiscal year 2022, we are on pace to match the record-setting fiscal year 2021. Cases shipped to date are up just slightly at 0.46% or 2,608 cases.

There has been some talk about liquor shortages in Montana. The fact is, there have been shortages over the past couple of years, and it is an issue occurring around the globe.

These shortages have been due to a number of factors. There is not an unlimited supply of every liquor product in the world. As demand spikes, distilleries have struggled to provide enough of their product for everyone. Many distilled spirits take years or even decades of aging to produce, so it would take a distillery a long time to catch up with demand.

Suppliers have also faced issues such as shortages of glass bottles, aluminum, cardboard, labor, and raw ingredients to make their products, as well as problems with port delays, closed borders, and transportation.

ABCD has great working relationships with our many liquor suppliers. These suppliers try to meet our demand for their products and will usually inform us about any potential supply issues or delays. We strive to try and increase our stock, if possible, but we are limited to what suppliers have available. If a certain size isn’t available, we will order more of another size if available. For example, we might be out of 750ML bottles of your favorite product, but we might be able to order it in another size. If a product is having overall supply issues, we ensure that we find and obtain an alternate product for consumers.

ABCD also has excellent working relationships with our Montana liquor stores. We update the stores regarding product restrictions, potential inventory shortages, out-of-stock products, and delivery issues that may arise as we become aware of them. We provide as much information as possible to help the stores accommodate their bar customers and the public. We diligently strive to determine that, if something is out of stock, we try to acquire a similar, substitute product.

If you find a new product you wish to try, or don’t see your favorite product in stock, you can request any of the 95 state agency liquor stores to order it for you. If the product you are seeking has been ordered previously, agency liquor stores can add it to their next order.

If they have not previously ordered the product, a liquor store will request ABCD to research it in an effort to get it ordered. We do our best to bring in as many new products as possible; however, not every product is available to Montana and some products have such limited availability that we might receive very few cases or none at all.

Consider trying one of the thousands of alternatives if a bar or liquor store doesn’t currently have your favorite product available. There is a wide available variety of products in every category and new brands come in every day. Ask your bartender to recommend something different. You might even find a new favorite.

Our goal is to provide a variety of liquor in our warehouse, at agency liquor stores, and your local bar, and we at ABCD will continue to work hard to maintain and increase product availability for Montana consumers.