Just in time for Independence Day!
Apparently, the State of Washington is working hard to make me shut up with my complaints about the Ohio Division of Liquor Control.
Via the Overnight Thread at Ace of Spades, we have a story from the Seattle Times that the entire State of Washington has either limited supplies or is entirely out of stock of a variety of popular liquors.
Dozens of “temporarily out of stock” signs dot the shelves of some state liquor stores, and store managers say they’re not sure when their complete product line will again be available.
How the heck is an entire state out of booze?
Well, they aren’t exactly out of booze. They just can’t get it to anyone.
State officials blame the difficulties on a glitch in a new software system that controls the movement of 18,000 cases of liquor a day through the state’s distribution center on East Marginal Way South in Seattle.
You see, the state brings in all liquor through a single, central warehouse. This warehouse is designed with an automated system to collect liquor from bins and automatically set up the loads for the distribution trucks. It looks really cool. See?
There is just one problem. It isn’t up to the job at hand. I took one look at this set up and said,
Wow! Someone has spent way too much time and taxpayer money getting ideas in Las Vegas!
This set-up works great at Aureole in the Mandalay Bay, but Washington’s implementation has a few shortcomings. First and foremost…
No hot chicks hanging from wires!
Exactly. And if there were, you couldn’t see them, since it’s in a warehouse with the awesomely appropriate address of Marginal Way.
More to the point, it isn’t working. And apparently has not been working since it was installed! It was not until the beginning of June that the state noticed there was a problem with their new toy, when they finally realized that they were only filling 65% of their orders. They claim the problem is fixed, but I have my doubts. After a month, with thousands of hours of overtime, and six
temporary warehouses in operation, they can fill 80% of their orders. When they finally do get through the backlog, and go back to relying only on the system, let me know if it doesn’t immediately break down again.
Meanwhile, the state owned liquor stores can’t get product. The state license stores can’t get product. And the biggest pains in the butt is that restaurants can’t get product.
Those of you who read me religiously (all three of you), know how jealous of Seattle’s craft bar scene I am. But to go into a holiday weekend with no idea what inventory you can have must be a nightmare. And it’s going to be especially bad for the higher end watering holes, serving the more esoteric drinks.
…Pete Hanning, an owner of the Red Door in Fremont, said restaurants count on getting not just the most common liquors, but ones they can feature in specialty cocktails. For two weeks, he said, he was unable to offer a popular summertime sipper — a lemonade drink he makes with pear-flavored Absolut vodka. The Red Door has a large outdoor deck and depends on heavy summer traffic, Hanning said.
“The worst part is each week I’m not sure what’s going to be on my load and what products I’m going to be out of. It creates a lot of undue stress,” he said.
So you can probably get Stoli and Tanqueray, and all the Crystal Palace and Gibley’s you want. But if you can’t get the flavored versions of Absolut, what chance do you have of planning on Hendrick’s, or 10 Cane?
Oh, and coming next month, probably before they get their customer service act together, the state will increase the taxes on every bottle of booze by one to three dollars a bottle. You know, because you appreciate more the things that are most dear. I’m sure the good folks of Washington State will appreciate their enhanced appreciation of cocktails.
UPDATE: INSTALANCHE! Thanks Professor! Welcome to my corner of the cocktailosphere, folks! Please take a look around while you are here. Beyond the occasional post like this one on the politics and science of drinking, I also write about actual cocktails (including the greatest of all time), as well as doing booze and book reviews, and I often discuss the art of building your own Basement Bar. And I also try to keep it light….