Food  |  News & Politics

Champagne Problems? Actually, Yes— Expect Bubbly Shortages at Some Liquor Stores This Holiday Season.

Some bourbon producers are also feeling the supply-chain pinch.

Photograph by ShotShare via iStock / Getty Images Plus

Holiday demand and supply chain issues have made it tough for liquor stores to keep shelves stocked with all their usual options. At local places like MacArthur Beverages, certain Champagne brands have been scarce.

Phil Bernstein, the shop’s manager, says luxury beverages like Dom Pérignon and Pol Roger are not available like they used to be. It’s partly a result of reduced production in 2020 and this year, after poor weather and growing conditions yielded less-than-stellar harvests in France’s Champagne region.

And bubbles aren’t the only thing in short supply.

A number of bourbons have been difficult to get because distilleries are dealing with glass shortages. That’s also causing significant issues at Schneider’s of Capitol Hill, says Elyse Genderson, its vice president: “With major spirits brands, only about 40 percent of what we order from the wholesalers is bring delivered.”

In addition to weather and glass problems, there are also fewer truck drivers on the road, which means there aren’t as many drinks of all kinds being moved across the country. But despite all these snags, you can still find lots of good stuff to drink in Washington-area shops. One option? Try a different Champagne! 

“They only like Veuve Clicquot Champagne—which we have, but there’s certainly an issue? There are many other Champagnes that you can try that are just as good, if not better,” Bernstein says. Genderson echoes the sentiment, saying customers can find plenty of choices including “several outstanding family-owned grower Champagne houses available and in stock.”

Zach Bright

Zach joined Washingtonian in October 2021. In the past, he’s written for The Colorado Sun, The Nevada Independent and SRQ Magazine.