Acquiring inventory of honey containers was a challenge in 2021. Like many other segments of the international economy, there was a logjam of issues that cascaded out of covid. The problems related to raw material availability, distribution hurdles, international logistics of all sorts, labor shortages, and increased demand for everything at exactly the same time that it was harder to produce and distribute these items.
Customers especially missed some of the honeycomb hourglass containers and had to use ribbed versions instead. Our preferred HDPE jugs became very difficult to acquire, and we are still waiting on the 48 oz version of those, but at least the gallon and 80 oz jugs are in very good supply. In the interim we have the milk jug style handi-pour 48 oz to tide everyone over on the 3 lb front. 8 oz bears were out of stock for a few months, but now we have a relatively massive supply on hand. As a producer-bottler that also distributes empty containers, we were under extra pressure to find something workable for both our customers and for the sake of our own delivery route. Many thanks to everyone for their patience as we explained the circumstances of the hour.
We are lucky to be supplied with containers out of the US rather than importing everything from overseas. That put us a little higher in the domestic customer pyramid when things started to go wrong with availability, though the wait time for certain items became extraordinary. We historically only needed to give several weeks of notice to get large orders produced and in our building. Especially in the second half of 2021, that timeline turned into months of waiting with no promise of a particular delivery date. Things would be ready whenever they were ready. Hopefully we are over the hump now.
The plus side of all of these experiences is that we now have more connections and better awareness of backup options. That will be handy in case the container landscape of 2022 backslides toward our experiences of late 2020 and 2021.