Getting buzzed could get more expensive

Getting buzzed could soon get more expensive

The prices of wine, liquor, and other beverages are expected to rise, caused by a glass bottle shortage and increased transportation costs.

Your favorite drink at the bar could soon cost more, due to increased transportation costs and shipping delays.

Senior Vice President of Communications and Marketing of Wine & Spirits Wholesalers of America Michael Bilello said those increased costs could soon be passed to consumers. 

"As the cost of business and challenges of doing business impact the wine and spirits industry, consumers are going to see that on the shelves or their bars and restaurants," Bilello said. 

Close to 81 percent of the nation’s wine is produced in California, according to the Wine Institute. 

He noted that in a recent survey conducted by SipSource, 43% of suppliers and distributors said they expect to see an increase in the price of wine, and 48% said they expect to see a definite increase in the price of spirits. 

However, for winemakers and vintners like Phil Long, the increased cost of doing business has become a challenge. 

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Long started his winemaking journey with his wife Debra in the early 2000s. It began as a passion in their garage and has become a national scale operation. However, over the past few years, Long said he's faced many challenges. 

"It’s a massive issue, the supply chain," Long said. "Even on the national side, we’re having a hard problem keeping up with getting the wine in the bottles because we’re just not getting the amount of bottles."

Part of the problem is a glass shortage, caused by shipping delays and the truck driver shortage. 

Phil Long is the president of the Association of African American Vintners and the founder and owner of Longevity wines. 

At one point, Long was only paying $1,500 for a container of bottles. Now, he's paying almost $12,000 for the bottles, if he can find them. 

"We’ve been actually even lucky to source bottles from other wineries, which is kind of unusual," he said. 

Wine prices have only increased 4.2 percent over the past 5 years, however, winemakers expect them to rise even more in the coming year due to the increased production costs. 

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Long said he originally went to school to become an architect and found a passion with making wines with his wife. Despite those rising costs, one of his motivations is his late-wife Debra. 

 "I used to give her these glass hearts on Valentine’s Day, and she amassed this huge collection of glass hearts," he said. 

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 Debra passed away in 2019 from pancreatic cancer, he said. Each bottle has a heart on it, representing his time with her and their journey, he said. 

"I designed this heart for her, because it contained hearts, grapevines and grape leaves, and it really represented our journey – starting out for fun, and now we’re making wine commercially," Long said. 

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