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Alcohol shortage affecting Maine

Champagne and liquor are proving to be the hardest to come by and the shortage will likely worsen in 2023 and 2024.

PORTLAND, Maine — Empty shelves at liquor stores might not seem like much the day before Thanksgiving, but Sam Patel, the owner of Back Bay and Hilltop Superette, said it's not only because of the holiday but also an alcohol shortage.

According to NBC News, this is due to glass manufacturers in Italy and France having a hard time making the glass bottles that many liquors are packaged in.

Patel said Champagne is one of the hardest to get, but the problem will likely worsen in 2023 and 2024.

"The lack of production during the pandemic versus the aging of the Champagne," he said.

It's not all sparkling wines though. Patel said that sales of cava from Spain and prosecco from Italy have been up. 

But that's not the hardest thing to get.

"I would say the biggest shortage is probably on the spirits side," Patel said.

According to the Maine Bureau of Alcoholic Services, the shortage isn't as bad as other supply chain shortages.

"We don't anticipate them running dry with any particular item and the situation isn't so dire that we have had to consider rationing ... we do anticipate that people may have to opt for a different brand," Commissioner of the Maine Department of Administrative and Financial Services, Kirsten Figueroa, said.

She added that she is encouraging Mainers to drink responsibly this holiday season.

Patel said that because there have been so many supply chain issues recently, customers understand if their favorite beverage isn't in stock.

He added that he held training for his staff so if someone's favorite drink is out of stock, they can be directed to something new to try.