A transition to a new warehouse management system is delaying deliveries to liquor stores and wholesale customers, causing alcohol shortages in Canada’s province with the largest population.
Annoyed customers have taken to social media, posting photos of empty shelves at Liquor Control Board of Ontario (LCBO) stores, which has a near-monopoly on the province’s alcohol market.
The government-owned company said the issue was confined to a warehouse near Toronto.
“While the transition to the new system is progressing well, deliveries remain slightly behind schedule,” the LCBO said in a statement to CTV News.
The LCBO, one of the world’s largest alcohol buyers, reported C$6.24 billion in revenue in its 2017-18 fiscal year. (A Canadian dollar equals US$0.77.)
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Apart from annoying Ontario’s drinkers, the shortage in the province’s liquor stores may intensify efforts to liberalize the sale and distribution of alcohol. An alcohol policy advisor for Ontario’s Conservative government has suggested it may try to privatize the LCBO’s distribution business. The LCBO contracts with carriers for transport, but has its own logistics department.
Hammer down everyone!