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Each week, WFAE's "Morning Edition" hosts get a rundown of the biggest business and development stories from The Charlotte Ledger Business Newsletter.

Charlotte bars and restaurants face liquor shortage as COVID pandemic drags on

Calugar Ana Maria

It was already tough for bars and restaurants amid the pandemic, with shutdowns and capacity limits. And now bars and restaurants in North Carolina are facing a new challenge: keeping the liquor shelves stocked. That’s because the state is in the midst of a liquor shortage.

The Charlotte Ledger’s Tony Mecia says it’s complicated problem that hits multiple parts of the supply chain.

“Part of it is higher demand — people are drinking more liquor now than they were before the pandemic,” Mecia told WFAE “Morning Edition” host Marshall Terry in this week’s installment of BizWorthy. “... The ABC Commission in Raleigh points to things like shortages of glass, shortages of delivery drivers. There’s a new distribution system that they put in. There are any number of causes as to why the shelves in Mecklenburg County ABC stores are not fully stocked.”

But South Carolina isn’t being hit as hard by alcohol supply problems. Even though Mecklenburg’s a border county, it’s not as simple as Charlotte restaurants and bars just sending people across state lines to stock up. They have to buy liquor through county ABC stores due to North Carolina’s alcohol laws.

Mecia says some local restaurants are sending staff to different ABC stores to find the liquor they need and in some cases are even printing menus that don’t promise specific brands.

“They’re used to getting certain products that they serve to customers and they don’t have those now,” Mecia said. “It is trickling down. Customers are seeing this. And if you walk into any ABC store, you’ll also see this — the shelves, a lot of times, are empty.”

In other news about pandemic-related challenges: The struggle how to get people vaccinated continues across several sectors. Charlotte Douglas International Airport’s largest carrier, American Airlines, just announced that it’s requiring employees to be vaccinated against COVID-19. Several other major airlines have announced similar mandates.

“As this pandemic progresses, I think we're going to see different measures and different ways that those mandates are enforced,” Mecia said. “Certainly, more and more companies are requiring their employees to get vaccinated, and we're seeing those vaccination rates inch up.”

You can listen to the full BizWorthy conversation above. Here’s a quick look at two other topics Terry and Mecia covered this week.

  • A townhome development is planned near the StoneCrest at Piper Glen shopping center in Ballantyne. There’s already some opposition to the pace of development in that part of Charlotte. 
  • Tech company AvidXChange is going public. It’s just the latest Charlotte company filing for an IPO, and Mecia says that could mean big things for the city as far as its tech and philanthropy scene.

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