AUSTIN (KXAN) — If you’ve stopped by convenience stores, you may have noticed a certain bottle that’s low in stock.
A spokesperson for Topo Chico told KXAN they are experiencing a temporary tight stock of product due to “extremely strong consumer demand” combined with “a shortage of raw materials.”
“We’re working hard and implementing contingency plans to keep the products people love on shelves during this temporary shortage,” said the sparkling mineral water company.
The company would not provide more details about which raw materials it was facing challenges with or which products were most affected.
That’s what Nilkantha Upreti says he was told at the Hyde Park Market.
“The delivery person said they are almost out of stock; they don’t have enough stock,” said the employee.
He says Topo Chico is one of their bestsellers.
“We are not getting enough. Demand is more than supply,” he said.
University of Texas supply chain expert Edward Anderson says there’s currently a glass shortage as bars and restaurants reopen in many states.
“They’ve been trying to restock all the alcohol that they would keep behind their bars,” he said. “And so, that’s put an extra surge in demand over and above normal consumer demand.”
Anderson also says there is not much factories can do to catch up.
“The industry is highly automated and runs 24/7 already, so capacity can’t be increased all that much,” said Anderson, Wright Centennial Professor for Management of Innovative Technology at UT’s McCombs School of Business.
One of Topo Chico’s competitors in Texas, Rambler Sparkling Water, noticed this story the day after it was published and sent KXAN this statement:
Rambler: Made here. In stock here. All across Texas.Rambler Sparkling Water
This isn’t the first shortage to hit Austin.
In June, a UT expert told KXAN rising coffee bean costs and limited availability was due to droughts and pandemic-related shipping container challenges.
In March, computer chip shortages were made worse by Texas’ winter storm, which suspended operations for several plants, including in Austin. Computer chips are used in several technology products, including video games and cars.
Both GM and Ford announced the shortage caused them to either slow down or pause production on some models.
Anderson says most of the supply chain issues we’re facing have to do with shipping. He says ships are backed up at ports, which usually take a couple days and now can be up to a week.
He also says shipping containers weren’t being manufactured during the pandemic, and many deteriorated — resulting in a 20 to 30% decrease in shipments.