Griffin Claw brewmaster shares why you may see shortages of some liquors

Posted at 5:45 PM, Jun 23, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-23 18:06:37-04

ROCHESTER HILLS, Mich. (WXYZ) — You might not be able to get your drink of choice. Liquor stores, banquet halls, and restaurants are all reporting troubles ordering the drinks they want.

7 Action News went to the Griffin Claw Brewing Company in Rochester Hills and spoke to the head brewmaster who, as an industry insider, has his claws wrapped around why.

Dan Rogers is the Head Brewmaster at Griffin Claw Brewing Company. You see his signature on many of their bottles. He says there are many reasons that we are currently seeing a shortage of certain liquors.

The number one reason? People are buying more.

“The pandemic got people looking into high-quality spirits,” said Rogers.

The Michigan Liquor Commission backs this up. It says since March when the pandemic started overall sales volume is up 23%. Certain categories have seen even larger increases. For example sales of bourbon have increased 35%.

At Griffin Claw, they are selling whiskey and bourbon faster than ever. This creates challenges because they both take a long time to make.

Griffin Claw’s Rail District Rye Whiskey is aged a minimum of four years. As demand increases, they can’t quickly increase supply.

“We might have to ration it, so to say,” said Rogers.

The pandemic has also at the same time made manufacturing more challenging. With brewers selling to go, there is a can shortage. It also takes more time to get a shipment of bottles from overseas. Plus, you have heard that lumber prices are skyrocketing due to demand. It might not surprise you that there also is a shortage of wood bourbon and whiskey barrels.

“There is a big demand for them. And the price has gone up,” said Rogers.

In the meantime, the lifting of restrictions on gatherings means many are planning parties.

“We can’t buy enough champagne right now,” said Michael Schoenith, President of The Roostertail.

At the Roostertail in Detroit, a popular waterfront banquet facility, they had a party of 70 planned for Wednesday, that after restrictions were lifted was increased to 240 guests. It increases demand.

“There are certain liquors you can’t get right now,” said Schoenith.

While Griffin Claw for example is running low on its Rye Whiskey, Marketing Director Christopher Lasher says other supplies are strong. He says if your favorite liquor from a large distiller overseas is out of stock, it is a great time to try something local.

“We make it right here. It is cool to get it from the people right down the street,” said Lasher.

The Michigan Liquor Control Commission tells 7 Action NEWS It is important to let people know there is not an overall liquor shortage. There are instead specific liquor products out of stock. It posted a message on its ordering site for licensees to see as they log in. It says:

Recently there has been a noticeable increase in out-of-stock items. There are many products that are having severe supply shortages due to many factors, such as shipping, glass shortage, aging requirements, demand, etc. We are aware of these shortages and are working to get the products available as soon as possible. Please click the link below for more specific information on these shortages. Thank you!