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Holiday gift out of stock? Heineken to offer free beer "IOU"

Supply chain crisis could disrupt holiday shopping
Supply chain crisis could disrupt holiday sho... 08:00

That perfect gift you ordered stuck in an overseas warehouse, U.S. port or other snarled point along the global supply chain? You may be able to give the gift of beer instead.

Under a new promotion, Dutch beer maker Heineken is holding an online contest for consumers who can prove they can't get a gift delivered in time for the holidays. Winners get a gift card good for a free 12-pack of beer from local retailers as well as a gift box to use as an "IOU" present while their intended recipient waits.

To enter, contestants must upload a screenshot of an out-of-stock notice to the contest website to show that an item they had planned to buy is unavailable. But you'd better move fast — the contest is limited to just 1,500 winners. 

The contest will open for two weekends before Christmas: December 10-12 and December 17-19 in a dozen cities: New York, Philadelphia, Miami, Orlando, Tampa, Atlanta, Washington D.C., Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, Houston and Phoenix.

The gift box holds six beers, leaving the rest for the winner to do with as they see fit. To avoid delivery delays, Heineken will send a courier to deliver the gift box, Josh Egan, Heineken's U.S. brand director, told CBS MoneyWatch. Consumers must pick up the beer at a participating retailer. 

"So if you are in one of those 12 markets and you do win this promotion, then you'll get a same-day delivery from a partner who can actually deliver it directly to your doorstep without the need for the third-party supply-chain managers," Egan said.

Macy's CEO on holiday retail landscape 05:22

Heineken's contest website includes a map showing where winners can pick up the beer to fill the gift box — or their fridge. A 12-pack of bottles typically costs somewhere between $14.99 and $16.99, depending on the retailer.

"This is really just an opportunity here to make the most of kind of a bad situation and be there as a partner for our consumers," Egan said. 

Supply-chain snags sent holiday shoppers online early this season, fearing gifts wouldn't be available in time for the holidays. And many of them won't be: Out-of-stock messages for online shoppers rose 8% on Cyber Monday compared to the previous week, according to figures from software maker Adobe, which tracks digital purchases. 

Through November 29, out-of-stock messages are up 169% compared to pre-pandemic levels, Adobe said in a blog this week. That's expected to continue through December, according to Adobe.

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