Pandemic boosts booze sales
Jon Manchester - Aug 13, 2020 - Biz Releases

If you’re reading this while sipping a cold brew, you may already know the following to be true:

We’re all drinking a lot more since the COVID-19 pandemic began.

Be that because more of us are out of work and simply have more time to indulge, or are working from home and the temptation is that much closer, or maybe we’re just stressed out about the whole thing—the bottom line is booze sales are through the roof.

Back in March, during the depths of B.C.’s economic shutdown, people were stocking up on beer and wine like it was the end of the world. Of course, for some, it seemed like it as shoppers also went crazy for toilet paper and other household essentials.

Halfway through the summer, TP and hand sanitizer are much easier to find, and liquor sales have stayed far above normal, according to beer and wine store operators.

Jackie Dreger, manager at Monashees beer & wine store in Vernon, says consumption—and sales—have definitely increased.

“Oh yeah, it busier, for sure,” she said.

Dreger says when the pandemic first hit in B.C., people were “panic buying” and were going for quantity, snapping up boxed wines in droves. While they’ve returned to picking up their favourites by the bottle, hard liquor drinkers appear to still be going big, more often opting for a 40-pounder instead of a 26-er.

Dreger says sales were up about 30% at the peak of the shutdown.

The company brought in $150,000 worth of additional product to meet demand and has had to add more staff to meet continued demand.

She says some beer producers report difficulty keeping up with demand for specialty products and that customer traffic is spreading out across the week.

“Tuesday is now as busy as Thursday … people who drank on the weekends are now maybe also Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday drinkers.”

Dreger says the increase in sales applies to all segments, from beer to wine, spirits and coolers.

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