Liquor shortage affecting local stores

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EAST LANSING, MI -- If you're looking to buy a special kind of liquor at a local party store, you may have a hard time finding it.

There's a statewide distribution problem causing a liquor shortage.

Rich McCarius owns Tom's Party Store in East Lansing. He got an email Wednesday morning from Republic National Distributing Company (RNDC), a huge liquor provider, that said they won't be making any deliveries Wednesday through Friday.

"You can see where there are normally bottles," McCarius said pointing to the liquor shelves behind the counter. "There are a few spaces and it's going to keep growing. People who are looking for something special as we get near the holidays; a special order perhaps. We're having trouble fulfilling that. We just can't get the product."

He made an order for liquor on Friday, but got the news that RNDC won't be delivering orders this Wednesday, Thursday or Friday.

"After Michigan State beats Michigan, people will be celebrating around here and so we need product in order to supply their needs," he said.

There have been delays in deliveries since RNDC consolidated its distribution into a new facility in Livonia. Software issues and technical problems have slowed things down.

The decision to not deliver orders this week was part of the company's overall plan to catch up to previously delayed deliveries and implement changes at its new facility.

The company indicated that their plan will allow them to correct outstanding issues by the end of November, but added that there are "no guarantees on anything."

McCarius hopes that he'll get his order next week. Meanwhile, his customers' options will be limited.

"If everybody wants brand X, then we'll run out. But we'll have brand Y and Z available so we will have things to sell. It just might not be what you came looking for," he said.

The Michigan Liquor Control Commission said that it has gotten approximately 350 complaints from licensees since last Friday.

RNDC has apologized for the delays and said that it will continue to deliver backlogged orders through this Saturday.

Their goal is to have normal delivery restored by mid-December.

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