Wineries and distilleries face glass shortages

While some businesses were able to stay ahead of the curve amid supply chain shortages, some had to shut their doors completely.

Posted: Oct 21, 2021 6:47 PM

WILLAMETTE VALLEY, Ore. -- Wineries and distilleries are seeing crowds again after a rough couple of years. They've faced struggles due to the pandemic and wildfires, and now they're dealing with a new issue: glass shortages.

King Estate Winery said their vendors first alerted them to the glass shortage in the summer. During that time, they were able to avoid this obstacle by ordering their glass ahead of time.

"We've definitely seen some disruptions really across supply chains, whether it be glass, labels, capsules, or barrels," said King Estate's chief operating officer Brent Stone. "It's typically costing more and taking longer to get here. But I think we've really been proactive and we've ordered a lot of those things ahead of harvest, which is unusual."

King Estate typically goes through 36,000 glass bottles per day. They said because of their company size and their loyal business partners, they haven't experienced disruptions in their business.

RELATED: WILLAMETTE VALLEY WINERIES AND TASTING ROOMS SEE BIG BOOST AS COVID-19 RESTRICTIONS END

"What's been really helpful for us is some of the longstanding relationships with our partners," said Stone. "Twenty, thirty year partnerships have really helped us get over the top of our supply chain crunches."

However, some businesses said they had to shut their doors, including Eon Distilling in Springfield.

"Getting glass was definitely the nail in the coffin," said Eon Distilling owner Trevor Davies. "Because alcohol sales were going up for stock bottles, regular name brands who were needing more bottles, a lot of people were focusing their attention on that. If you had a unique bottle which ours was a unique non-stock option, it would take months to get on the schedule to get our glass made. Then it was much more expensive than normal because they were taking time away from the stock options."

Davies said the issue later became glass distribution because of congestion at shipping ports and lack of delivery drivers.

This is also an issue Swallowtail Spirits in downtown Springfield said they've coped in.

"With hangups in the ports, having so many waiting off-shore waiting to come in, there's been a huge bottleneck with that," said owner Kevin Barrett. "The only people who are getting bottles are the really big accounts."

Barrett said the supply chain issues now are worse than during the peak of the pandemic.

"The bottleneck at the ports wasn't really an issue until five, six months ago," said Barrett. 

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