Beer, spir­its stop flow­ing at LCC stores


A com­puter er­ror forced P.E.I.’s liquor stores to close tem­po­rar­ily on Satur­day and cre­ated con­cern for drinkers through­out the prov­ince. The er­ror, which was caused by a third-party se­cu­rity soft­ware up­date, forced all the P.E.I. Liquor Con­trol Com­mis­sion (LCC) stores to close for the af­ter­noon and led to a mas­sive de­mand at the prov­ince’s agency stores as Is­lan­ders strug­gled to find a case of beer or bot­tle of wine for the night. Be­cause the agency stores were not af­fected by the shut­down, ve­hi­cles lined up along St. Peter’s Road through­out the af­ter­noon to get into Mel’s. It was also re­ported that Cooper’s Red and White in El­don saw cus­tomers driv­ing out from Char­lot­te­town to stock up. Joy Larsen, man­ager of the Kinkora Irv­ing agency store, said it was one of the store’s busiest days ever and even re­quired call­ing in ex­tra staff.

“It was ex­tremely busy, it was non-stop,” said Larsen. “Storm days can be crazy, but that’s usu­ally only for a few hours.” Larsen also noted a bit of irony be­cause just last week she de­cided to switch her liquor or­ders from weekly to bi­weekly, lead­ing to a larger-than-usual amount in the store.

“So I thought I’d have enough beer and liquor in here for two weeks,” said Larsen. “I don’t think we ac­tu­ally ran com­pletely out of any­thing… but it def­i­nitely won’t last the full two weeks now.”

Larsen also thanked her staff as well as cus­tomers for their pa­tience through­out the af­ter­noon.

It wasn’t just the agency stores that saw a bump in busi­ness.

Sev­eral craft brew­eries in the prov­ince also sell bot­tles of beer on site.

Bruce McGaw, tap­room man­ager at Up­street Craft Brew­ing in Char­lot­te­town, said the Allen Street brew­ery had a steady line-up through­out the day of both loyal and new cus­tomers.

“It was def­i­nitely great to get some peo­ple in that may not have al­ready been ex­posed to craft beer,” said McGaw. “There were lots of peo­ple that came in to­day who were regulars, but a lot of peo­ple were new and they were very happy to still be able to buy their beer.”

Carl Adams, chief fi­nan­cial of­fi­cer for the LCC, said the shut­down started around noon and was caused by a third-party soft­ware up­date.

Adams said the LCC com­put­ers re­acted to the up­date like it would with a cy­ber at­tack and shut down to the out­side world.

“It re­acted the way it should have be­cause it no­ticed an anom­aly in the sys­tem we were run­ning. So it shut off ac­cess to the out­side world, which in turn shut down all of our lanes,” said Adams, not­ing it was the first clo­sure of its kind for P.E.I. liquor stores. “This is the first time that’s ever hap­pened and its good to see all the pro­to­cols worked and we had the proper treat­ment lined up... It’s sur­pris­ing, we’re so com­puter de­pen­dent in this world to­day that even a small lit­tle glitch af­fects everything.”

Adams said IT staff worked to re­solve the is­sue through­out the af­ter­noon. Once the cause was iden­ti­fied, LCC com­put­ers had to down­load a new up­date be­fore go­ing back on­line.

Liquor stores be­gan re-open­ing shortly af­ter 6 p.m.

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