Distributor Blames Booze Shortage On Move To New Warehouse

WWJ News
November 09, 2019 - 12:16 pm

© David R. Lutman/Special to the Courier-Journal

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(WWJ) - A major liquor distributor is apologizing for weeks of delayed and missing deliveries that have left bar and party store owners short of booze.

Officials at Republic National Distributing Company, one of only two approved liquor distributors in the state, have been calling their 13,000 customers to apologize for stock shortages and late deliveries over the past few weeks. The company blamed the issues on a move to a new warehouse in Livonia.

"Moving from two warehouses to one while serving our many customers turned out to be like building a new plane while flying it – and we have not performed adequately. That is unacceptable and we are working around the clock to address the issues," RNDC said in a statement. "We are moving product back into one of our previous facilities to address immediate needs."

Many bar owners had complained to the Michigan Liquor Control Commission, saying the shipment delays and late orders were costing them money, which forced the distributor to come up with a solution. The commission said the lost sales were also costing the state tax money.

"We are holding RNDC accountable on how they plan to fix this situation for our licensees," MLCC Chair Pat Gagliardi said in a statement. "It’s our priority to ensure our licensees have their shelves stocked for the public, especially in advance of the holiday season."

Several bar owners also complained about customer service. Janice Semma, who owns J's Penalty Box in Ferndale, said she sat on hold for 45 minutes regarding a missing delivery, just to be told, "it would be there when it got there."

RNDC apologized for any issues and said it is adding additional communications team members to handle calls and emails from customers.