Maybe you think the glass is half empty; maybe you think it’s half full.
But what if the glass just isn’t there?
This is a problem that some local businesses are facing, as it is increasingly clear that America and the world are facing a shortage of a material vital to industries – from construction to automobile manufacturing. by the distilleries.
The shortage of glass for bottles and other applications can be attributed to COVID-19. The reasons range from the closure of factories due to international tariffs and the impact of the pandemic on shipping and industry, experts say.
It doesn’t help the hospitality industry that the shortage comes just as people come out of their pandemic-induced isolation and look to enjoy dinner and drinks with friends.
Jack Lank, president of the United Regional Chamber of Commerce, which represents businesses in that region, became aware of the shortage when he began hearing from restaurant and bar owners in the area who were struggling to find items such as stemware.
“One was serving a $ 14 glass of wine in a plastic cup,” Lank said.
But that was not all. Liquor wholesalers have gone from shipping liters and fifths, which tuck neatly under the bar for efficient mixing of cocktails, to larger jugs that are much less convenient to use.
One example, Lank said, was Frangelico, a popular Italian after-dinner liqueur. It is usually sold in a 1 liter wasp-sized bottle that is easy to handle. But with the larger containers, some bartenders find it difficult to pour drinks, he said.
John Morin, manager of Morin’s Hometown Bar and Grill in downtown Attleboro, discussed the issue with Lank and local lawmakers. Referring to the 1.75 liter bottles used by some distributors, Morin asked, “How is a bartender supposed to hold something like this?” “
âI have no idea where this is going to go,â he said, but noted that it would be a major burden on high-volume establishments, like the ones at Patriot Place in Foxboro.
It’s not just the glassware that’s a problem, of course. As Bob Lutz, Chairman and CEO of the Massachusetts Restaurant Association, pointed out in an email, âRestaurants, all businesses and the general public face large-scale supply issues on many products.
âThis is not at all isolated from glassware, whether it’s for drinking beverage or for preserving the product we sell – it includes chicken wings, dressing, uniforms and many other products that we use. It is not a catering problem, it is a general supply problem that affects all industries.
And while the obvious solution for bars and restaurants for larger bottles is to pour alcohol from the larger containers into smaller, more manageable ones, it’s not that simple.
In fact, it is against the law. As Morin pointed out, it is illegal to âmarryâ bottles of alcohol under US government laws.
The laws are apparently intended to prevent sellers from adulterating distilled spirits, but they make no exception for pouring the same brand of alcohol from bottle to bottle.
(Laws don’t even allow bar owners to hang on to old bottles, unless it’s to destroy them or send them back to distillers for refilling.)
That means it is literally a federal matter, said State Senator Paul Feeney, D-Foxboro, one of the local lawmakers consulted by Lank about the shortage. Feeney said he and state representative Jim Hawkins, D-Attleboro, have looked into the issue, but because it involves federal laws, the solutions available to state lawmakers are likely limited.
âI don’t know if there is even a state-level solution. We’re trying to figure it out, but it might take an act of Congress, âFeeney said regretfully.