Stocking the shelves looks a little different during the pandemic at DeMeo’s Wine and Liquor in Troy. The store has been locally owned by Bob DeMeo for 45 years, and Anthony DeRusso-DeMeo has been involved for more than a decade.

What You Need To Know

  • Liquor stores are seeing product shortages due to the coronavirus

  • Wine production in Italy was impacted during the country's shutdown

  • Imported tequila is on backorder across the country due to Mexico seeing a spike in coronavirus cases

  • Tariffs are also impacting bottling and shipping on high-end spirits, like cognac

The business was recently deemed essential, like all liquor stores in New York, during the coronavirus shutdown.

“Business has been fantastic throughout the entire pandemic,” DeRusso-DeMeo said. “Things have been flying off the shelves basically since the end of March.”

But now products are hard to come by, as the pandemic stretches into its sixth month. The business is having a hard time restocking some products because of back orders and halted production lines.

“We don’t have a problem with selling the products; it's just, once it’s here, it may be gone tomorrow,” he added.

DeRusso-Demeo says the problem is high-end spirits in glass bottles, like cognac. China is the main producer of glass bottles, so both tariffs and the virus are playing a role in the hold-up.

“With China's virus and some of the trade tariffs that have been put in place, it’s very, very difficult to get the product into the country because we cannot bottle it,” added the owner.

Imported liquors like tequila are on backorder across the U.S. Mexico has stopped much of its production because the country is seeing a coronavirus spike.

“This one’s making people panic, as it’s prime tequila season,” said DeRusso-DeMeo. “Products just aren’t coming in, whether it’s the virus itself or the production facility.”

Over in the wine section, it’s no different. Imported Italian wines are limited, as Italy’s shutdown took place during vineyards’ growing season. Wines from areas like Tuscany are hard to come by, but the effects weren’t seen in the U.S. right away.

“Most of the products were warehoused, already in the United States, but now with months of no new supply coming in, we’re starting to run low,” he said.

It’s not yet known what this may mean for liquor prices. But DeMeo’s says it will try to keep pricing consistent.

“We’re trying to keep our prices exactly where they are, even if we have to absorb more of the cost,” he said.

And while it may be hard to find your favorite drink on the shelves for quite some time, DeRusso-DeMeo says now’s the best time to try local.

“Maybe this is the good time to try something new, you may like it, you may not like it," he said. "But it also may support a smaller vineyard or a local vineyard.”