It took nearly three months to get beer back on the convenience stores' shelves.

By Mike Pomranz
April 26, 2021
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If you live in Upstate New York, you may notice a change at your local Circle K: Beer is back after a nearly three-month hiatus. And though the whole thing may not be as strange as seeing a time-traveling phone booth in the parking lot, the reasons behind this boozy snafu are still a bit of a mystery.

Proving that even one of the world's biggest convenience store chains isn't above making mistakes, on February 1, about 40 Circle K stores in New York State were forced to stop selling beer due to what the company was describing as an "administrative error," according to Syracuse.com. Initially, this licensing screw up proved to be a boon for beer fans: A sign at one store back in January showed incredibly low prices—like $10 cases and $5 six-packs on all beer with no limits per transaction—as these locations were forced to liquidate their beer supplies. But the problem took some time to resolve: And it's only recently that these Circle Ks have been able to sell beer again.

A Circle K store logo
Credit: NurPhoto / Contributor/Getty Images

"We are excited that the administrative issues have been resolved—we will be able to begin selling product soon," Circle K spokesperson Brian Ridgeway told Syracuse.com after these stores had their licenses officially restored on April 15.

But what kind of error knocks 40 convenience stores' beer coolers out of commission? The working theory is that the problem stems from a changeover in ownership: Most of these locations were apparently purchased in 2014 and slowly converted from their old branding—Nice N Easy—to become official Circle K stores. And they're reportedly operated by a division of the larger Circle K company called CST New York LLC, which it would seem didn't have all of their paperwork in order with the New York State Liquor Authority. So a simple mistake really, but magnified when multiplied by 40.

However, regardless of the governmental and corporate inner workings that caused the stoppage to begin with, beer is finally back: So if you've already drunk through the dozen $10 30-packs of Busch Light you bought on January 31, you can now restock at the outlandish price of… uh… $18.99? That's not too bad, is it?