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Your Next Round of Drinks Might Be More Expensive

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Here’s another reason to worry about inflation: It’s getting more expensive to make wine, beer and spirits.

Some vineyards, brewers and distillers say they are absorbing those costs for now, and prices for alcoholic beverages are rising more modestly than for other consumer goods, according to government data. That might not last, analysts warn.

Costs for cardboard packaging, aluminum for beer cans, labels, transportation and energy are all going up. That is part of a wider burst of inflation hitting many industries in the developed world as economies recover from Covid-19 lockdowns.

Earlier this year, Cris Steller began receiving emails from suppliers warning his Californian distillery to get ready for price increases. Those costs have arrived, but for now Mr. Steller’s Amador & Dry Diggings Distillery is holding back on raising the prices of its rum, gin and whiskey.

“It’s hard to pass it on to the customer, because once you reset your price you are locked into it,” he said. “You have to decide, is this temporary or permanent…how much can you absorb?” Transporting a pallet of spirit bottles has risen to $905 from $590 last year, he added.


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