Nearly a week after the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board announced that it was going to resume online sales at www.finewineandgoodspirits.com, many consumers are wondering why they still can’t buy liquor on the website.
Instead of online sales most people clicking on the website are finding the message “Thank you for being a valued customer. Due to overwhelming demand, the online store is not available at this time. Please try again tomorrow or in the coming days. We apologize for the inconvenience.”
But, Shawn Kelly, press secretary for the PLCB, said the site is working. It’s just that that sales are being randomized to accept a controlled number of orders per day because of the overwhelming demand.
He noted that between April 1 and April 5 alone the website accepted 4,300 orders and had $386,000 in online sales.
In context, he noted that in the entire 2018-19 fiscal year the website had 39,000 online orders and about $5 million in sales.
So sales in those few days equaled nearly 10 percent of the total business the site normally handles in an entire year.
Kelly said the PLCB is trying to ramp up the site’s sales capability, but noted that it will take time.
“We are evaluating fulfillment capacity on a daily basis to optimize the number of orders we can accept each day, and the number of orders accepted each day will vary until we can better understand demand and fulfilment capacity. To date, we have been able to increase order capacity, and we expect that we will continue to do so,” he said.
Kelly said the PLCB is fulfilling orders from multiple facilities in Pittsburgh, Montgomery County, and Wilkes-Barre using a combination of PLCB employees and contractors. It is limiting the numbers of employees working in any facility at a time in an effort to protect its employees.