The writing was on the wall a long time ago: back in early 2020 when Starbucks’ delicious, just-sweet-enough Oatmilk Honey Latte touched down in Chicago, I liked it so much that I made it my go-to Starbucks order—but ever since then, it’s always been about a 50/50 chance that oatmilk is available on site to make the drink. It’s sold out more often than the McDonald’s ice cream machines are “broken.” Yet despite what would seem to be a tenuous oatmilk supply, in the name of a “plant positive future,” Starbucks announced in December that oatmilk would be rolling out nationwide in 2021. And now that the public has gotten a taste of that sweet, sweet oatmilk (literally—watch out for all those added sugars), Starbucks is experiencing an oatmilk shortage.
CNN Business reports that customers around the country were rage-posting online about a lack of oatmilk at their local Starbucks. While there are a number of other alternatives—coconut milk, soy milk, almond milk, or, y’know, milk milk—it seems that consumers have developed an insatiable craving for oatmilk, and nothing else will do.
“Due to high demand, some customers may experience a temporary shortage of oat milk at their store,” a Starbucks spokesperson told CNN, assuring us that the dairy alternative will be back “soon” for those who are missing it.
MarketWatch notes that this shortage is in keeping with “the growing popularity of plant-based foods of all kinds,” noting that Starbucks stock has rallied 64.5% over the past year and Oatly, the most prominent oatmilk brand in the U.S., has filed to go public. But the shortage might also be related to an influx of customers coming out of the woodwork post-quarantine, ready to get their hands on Starbucks’ new lineup of drinks.
“As more customers return to our stores, some customers may experience a temporary shortage of oat milk at their store,” reads a statement from Starbucks shared by MarketWatch. Hopefully the chain figures it out soon, because a cursory Twitter search for the Iced Brown Sugar Shaken Espresso reveals that many customers frustrated by shortages have just started making the drink themselves at home, and we simply can’t have that, can we?