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Colorado Bar Experts Find the Silver Lining

Raise a glass to creativity in catastrophe.

When the pandemic shut the world down in 2020, it triggered a shock wave of global supply chain issues that we’re still dealing with today. With ports closed and manufacturers short-staffed for months on end, bartenders struggled to get their hands on everything from spirits, liqueurs, garnishes, and fresh fruits to glass, paper products, and tonics. Even today, more than two years later, bartenders find themselves wiping out local grocery stores, borrowing from neighbors, and testing their ingenuity for creative solutions while we await the return of “normal.” “It’s a perfect storm of conditions in our industry, in particular,” Bobby Burg tells liquor.com. (Burg is the senior vice president of operations and chief supply chain officer at Southern Glazer’s Wine & Spirits, the largest wine and spirits distributor in the United States.) But, he adds, “There’s always a silver lining. Through adversity, lots of creativity is built.” Here’s what the local industry has to say:

“We’ve struggled to receive kegs, cans, and bottles in a timely fashion. We’ve also had issues receiving grapes, bar supplies, and production supplies. But we’ve leaned on our neighbors and learned the beauty of working together as a community.” —Nicki McTague, president, the Infinite Monkey Theorem, Denver

“What used to cost $4 per case to transport a case of wine from Italy to Denver now costs a minimum of $48. It also takes about five to six times as long. But we’ve been practicing lots of deep breathing. It really is the ultimate test in patience. It forces us to hustle, think creatively, and seek out new products.” —Carlin Karr, wine director, Frasca Hospitality Group, Boulder

“I like having a shortage of agave, in a sense. I want people to become conscious of how much we can take from the soil in Mexico and from the earth. We take it and sell it for money and don’t do anything to go back and heal and protect those lands. What can we shift to do things differently?” —Dana Rodriguez, co-owner, Doña Loca, Denver

Talk to us! Email your experiences (and thoughts, opinions, and questions—anything, really) to askus@diningout.com


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