Michigan liquor shortage driven by software problems at one of three state distributors

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Michigan residents are experiencing a liquor shortage due to a software glitch with one of the major distributors in the state, hitting restaurants, bars and retailers throughout the state.

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The Detroit Free Press reports that the Republic National Distributing Company, one of only three distribution agencies authorized to deliver alcohol in the state, has faced continual software problems since moving into a new warehouse in the city of Livonia.

The glitch has produced such a backlog of deliveries that the Michigan Liquor Control Commission is intervening, according to the Free Press.

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"We are holding RNDC (Republic National Distributing Company) accountable on how they plan to fix this situation for our licenses," Michigan Liquor Control Commission Chairman Pat Gagliardi said in a statement Friday. "It's our priority to ensure our licenses have their shelves stocked for the public, especially in advance of the holiday season."

One beverage manager in Royal Oak expressed her frustration over the situation, saying alcohol orders are coming in four to five days late despite the fact that she has been placing orders weeks in advance in an effort to reduce the delays.

"With the upcoming holiday season, it's especially challenging to plan for new menus when availability of product is so unpredictable," said Ale Mary's Beer Hall beverage manager Pam Stigall. "It is my hope that they are able to resolve this problem sooner than later."

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The Michigan Liquor Control Commission and attorney general’s office held a meeting last week with establishments suffering from the delivery backlog to address concerns and find ways to remedy the situation.

Meanwhile, Stigall told the news outlet that the RNDC sent her a private message on social media after she posted about the ongoing alcohol delivery logjam.

"RNDC (Republic National Distributing Company) understands your frustration and is doing everything in our power to correct the situation," they said in the message. "Sometimes growth comes from unforeseen challenges, and we've experienced more than our share with the opening of our new Livonia facility."

The state of Michigan's website has since created an online complaint report for licensed liquor retailers who are experiencing issues ordering spirits.

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