The facility in Madison, where 99 percent of the liquor that is sold in Mississippi package stores and restaurants is stored until delivery, is big enough to comfortably hold 400,000 cases of spirits. Currently, it warehouses 435,000 cases, Commissioner of Revenue Ed Morgan said.
“We’re bumping the ceiling.”
If growth matches that of the last three decades, the warehouse will soon run out of room altogether. Since 1985, liquor sales in the state have risen an average of 3 percent to 31/2 percent annually.
The backlog is because of simple economics, Morgan said. The liquor industry has expanded well beyond the basics — blends of whiskey, vodka and gin — to include a market of specialty and novelty spirits. “What’s causing it is the consumer is purchasing more alcohol. The industry’s changing, and with millennials, consumers want more choices and that leads to more inventory,” Morgan said. We’re trying to keep up with what consumer needs are and industry needs are, and our capacity to maintain those needs is limited to that one facility.”
The growth won’t slow down, so it’s a matter of time before more space is needed. A rough calculation shows that the warehouse should comfortably hold 450,000 cases of liquor, Morgan said.