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Glass shortage cutting into business profits, impacting shipping

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Posted at 1:23 PM, Mar 25, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-25 13:23:39-04

Experts say there’s a glass shortage across the world and industries relying on glass products are now seeing much higher prices.

To make top-shelf spirits, it takes top-shelf products. For Denver Distillery, that means using glass in almost every step of its manufacturing process

“From our hydrometers to tell what proof the alcohol is at, to, we use glass as our bottle caps,” said Chris Anderson-Tarver, who helps runs the distillery, which he says is facing a glass shortage impacting everything from glassware to glass bottles.

“We had to beg one of our suppliers to sell us just one pallet of these bottles because there’s such a shortage,” he said.

According to Anderson-Tarver, the reasons for this glass shortage range from factories closing to international tariffs and COVID-19 impacting shipping, things industry leaders are seeing worldwide.

“First of all, it’s understanding that it’s a global problem,” said Janie Sciacca, CEO of Distillery Products, a wholesale manufacturer of glassware and bar products based in northwest Montana.

Sciacca’s company imports and exports products from around the world. She says it usually takes five weeks to get something shipped from overseas. Now, it takes three months and costs more.

“I’ve seen, domestically, a sharp rise by 30 to maybe 35% in domestic shipping,” Sciacca said.

This new cost of doing business has Sciacca buying in bulk when that option is possible.

“Like for right now, we’re in March and I say to my team we have to plan for Christmas right now,” she said. “Because how long it’s going to take to get stuff.”

This low supply and high demand are causing prices to rise, something Anderson-Tarver doesn’t want to do at his distillery.

But the cost of going from grain to glass is now a sobering thought.

“That’s what keeps me up at night, man,” he said. “Any extra cost throws that whole plan in disarray.”