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Glass Shortage Has Distillers, Hardware Stores Rationing Their Bottles

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- A shortage of glass and other materials is leaving some retailers stressed to survive the summer season. Its depletion is partly blamed on the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

The shortage is causing extreme shipping delays to businesses that depend on glass to operate. One of those businesses is Copperwing Distillery in St. Louis Park. They packages their spirits for distribution in 375 mL and 750 mL glass bottles. What normally would take 2 weeks to deliver to is taking much longer.

"Over the last few months, it's gone from 3-6 weeks, all the way to 90 days or we don't know when it will be available," said Kyle Kettering, one of the owners and head distiller at Copperwing.

Kettering has about 10-20 cases of empty bottles left to fill, which he says will not make it through the end of summer.

"I'll certainly run out of certain products without being able to resupply," said Kettering, "It hasn't happened yet, but I can foresee it coming becauseI have to plan months in advance."

Copperwing Distillery is already looking for alternative forms of bottling their spirits. It's a last ditch effort to stay in business into the fall and get their product into the hands of the consumer.

It's not just liquor consumers that will feel this shortage over the summer. Diamond Lake Hardware in South Minneapolis has shelves stocked with mason jars that soon could be depleted.

"Ball glass jars…it's been almost impossible to get," said Dave Sbobodney, the owner of Diamond Lake Hardware.

Similar to distilleries, Sbobodney is running into shipping delays too. He recently attempted to place an order for more glass jars, and the earliest they would arrive is the end of August.

"I don't know why it's coming then, but that's after canning season so that doesn't work," said Sbobodney.

He put a sign outside his store along Diamond Lake Road to warn his customers about the shortage and encourage them to get glass jars while they still can. All he has left is first come first serve.

"Buy them now. We have a great supply at our three stores, but when they're gone, they're going to be gone," said Sbobodney.

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