Alcohol Sales Jump 55% During Coronavirus COVID-19 Situation

Like so much of the United States, my city of Austin, TX mandated shelter in place rules a few weeks back. With that order, a number of things changed, but one important legal change was that the state of Texas changed their laws to allow restaurants to deliver alcoholic beverages for delivery and to-go. It sounds like that might have been a smart move, because demand for alcohol is booming these days.


According to the Associated Press:

U.S. sales of alcoholic beverages rose 55% in the week ending March 21, according to market research firm Nielsen. Spirits like tequila, gin and pre-mixed cocktails led the way, with sales jumping 75% compared to the same period last year. Wine sales were up 66% while beer sales rose 42%. And online sales far outpaced in-store sales.

Nielsen said online alcohol sales were up 243%. Danelle Kosmal, a Nielsen vice president, suspects growth rates peaked that week as people loaded up their pantries before state stay-at-home orders went into effect.

Alcohol is both a blessing and a curse.

It’s a mild immunosuppressant in humans, meaning that it reduces your body’s ability to respond to illness and fight off things like viruses. Which is generally a bad idea in a moment where the COVID-19 Coronavirus is making a huge impact on the world. It also causes disease within the body from long-term, heavy consumption.

That said, it’s not all bad. As we all know, alcohol consumption can have a mood enhancing effect, giving people an enjoyable break from the constant drumbeat of TV and online news. It also has some public health benefits, as a good disinfectant for those spirits with over a 70% ABV rating (140 proof). And people aren’t drinking alone, either – from virtual happy hours and brunches, to online games-turned-drinking-games, people seem to be using it as a method of socialization and contact during this period of isolation.

Whichever way you look at it, people seem to be stocking up. The good news is that if you haven’t stocked up yet, there are ways to still get your preferred bottle of booze from the comfort of your own home. We recently published an article looking at some options for at-home liquor buying, check it out for more details and some recommendations on services to use.

Cheers to hopefully getting back to normal soon – drink responsibly and stay home if you’re able!


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