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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.

Mecklenburg liquor shortages continue, leading to questions about whether ABC needs to change

empty liquor shelves
Courtesy The Charlotte Ledger
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Supplies of alcohol at Mecklenburg ABC stores have been low the last few months, as at the ABC store in Midtown last month.

Stop us if you’ve heard this one before: There’s a liquor shortage in Mecklenburg County that is affecting everyone from bars and restaurants to regular people who enter an ABC Store. In this week’s BizWorthy, WFAE’s “Morning Edition” host talks with Cristina Bolling of The Charlotte Ledger Business Newsletter about what’s behind the empty shelves but also how we might find relief.

“We can’t say that by the end of the year that things are going to get better,” Bolling said.

To hear the full conversation, click the audio above.

The Charlotte Ledger spoke with Keva Walton, the CEO of Mecklenburg County’s ABC Board, who was hired in June 2020. Walton says current shortages are caused by all the usual suspects we’ve been hearing about: hyper consumption, supply chain issues and a labor shortage. Walton said some shipments are starting to come directly from vendors to Mecklenburg County rather than going through Raleigh, which might help.

“Certainly there is still a whole lot of frustration,” Bolling said.

To that end, The Ledger reached out to 17 state representatives and senators from Mecklenburg County to ask if the ABC system needs to change, and perhaps privatize. The Ledger heard back from three, with two saying they support some kind of change in the system.

Rep. Wesley Harris from District 105 said there isn’t a simple solution, though.

“He said that basically there is no individual policy decision that can fix the liquor shortage, that it’s bigger than just North Carolina,” Bolling said.

Other topics discussed on BizWorthy:

  • The Ledger had two experts look at Charlotte’s 608-page Unified Development Ordinance to offer opinions. One liked it, the other has concerns it might exacerbate Charlotte’s affordable housing problem.
  • The labor shortage extends to Charlotte Douglas International Airport, where it’s difficult to find restaurants open after hours right now. Boling said the airport is having open interviews every Monday and Thursday. Last week, Starbucks, alone, was hiring 30 people.

    “Everyone’s just pushing really hard to try to get these jobs filled,” Bolling said.

Listen to the audio above to hear the full conversation.

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