Is The Western Montana Irish Whiskey Shortage Affecting Us in Billings?
As reported yesterday in the Missoulian, bars in Western Montana have been out of the famous Irish whiskey brand Jameson for the better part of two months. Bars in Missoula and Butte can't even get Jameson at local liquor stores, so what's going on? And, is this also happening here in the Eastern side of the state?
Why Is There a Shortage?
Montana is one of the many states that controls alcoholic beverages at the wholesale level. These "alcoholic beverage control" states prohibit the purchasing of liquor wholesale unless it's from a state funded liquor store. According to the article, it seems like the shortage is unique to Montana, as other alcoholic beverage control states such as Idaho haven't run out of the Irish Whiskey at all, and the Jameson website also doesn't acknowledge a shortage. An article from Fortune.com predicted an Irish whiskey shortage 4 years ago. "The issue comes with aging. By Irish law, all whiskey has to be aged a minimum of 3 years, but many are aged for a lot longer."
Is Billings Affected by this Shortage As Well?
I asked the bar owners, bartenders, and bar workers in Billings about it, and the shortage does seem to affect the Billings area in some way. Randy Napier, of The Loft Dance Club, stated, "Most state liquor stores have been out for the past month. The bars that carry a big inventory could possibly still have some left." The bar Cheyenne Nicole works at ran out of Jameson earlier this week. "We had stopped selling bottles maybe 2-3 weeks ago," Nicole said.
Our own Aaron Flint mentioned the article this morning on Twitter, and on Montana Talks. You can view the tweet below. The consensus among people I asked is that patrons have been asking about it nonstop, so hopefully, they'll have Jameson back behind the bar sooner rather than later.