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Sales of Alcohol Are Skyrocketing Here

Places have seen sales rise up to 500% throughout 2020.

Alcohol sales during the later months of 2020 continued to surpass those of 2019, according to data, and local grocery stores are part of the reason why. (Besides the pandemic, of course.)

Between March and the end of October, sales by volume were up 26.3%, according to data from Nielsen. Beer and cider went up 14%, and wine went up 18%. Instead of getting these at bars and restaurants, people are ordering them online. In total, online sales were up 256% in 2020 compared to 2019. (Related: 8 Grocery Items That May Soon Be in Short Supply.)

Off-premise sales, or sales from stores that don't allow consumption on the site, grew quickly when lockdown orders were set in the spring but slowed when outdoor dining at restaurants gained popularity over the summer. As the weather shifted for the fall, so did these trends, and people started buying more alcohol for their home again—specifically tequila. Sales shot up 55% from September to October. Ready-to-drink cocktails also went up around this time by 131%, according to the data.

Although no data for the holiday season is available yet, local stores still saw sales rise. For example, Beer Run in Charlottesville, Va. didn't have as many customers as usual on New Year's Eve, but that wasn't an issue for the store.

"You see it a lot, people coming in and grabbing probably more than they normally, partially because they want to stock up their fridges, but also you can tell people are just trying to support local business, which is absolutely crucial at a time like this," a manager of the store told local news station NBC29.

And the Executive VP of a liquor store called Johnnie Ganem in Georgia says they are seeing big-ticket party items stay on the shelves, as customers purchase things like wine or ingredients for a cocktail.

"Business-wise in 2020, inside the store has been very good," Paul Ganem told WTOC11."People used to go out and have a glass of wine maybe a bottle of wine, or cocktail before. They can come here and buy whatever they want at a savings, actually."

Day-to-day data from the state of Pennsylvania shows increases in alcohol sales at local liquor stores on significant days of 2020. On March 16, the day the governor announced a shutdown of state-owned wine and spirits shops, profits topped $26.5 million. Over the summer, when stores were fully open again, sales returned to pre-pandemic levels. Then, on Dec. 11, the day another shutdown of restaurants and bars was announced, sales went up again, according to the Pennsylvania Capital-Star.

If you're feeling inspired to make a drink of your own, here are the 19 Best Healthy Canned Cocktails, Beers, and Seltzers You Can Buy Online. And for more grocery store news delivered right to your email inbox every day, sign up for our newsletter!

Amanda McDonald
Amanda has a master's degree in journalism from Northwestern University and a bachelor's degree in digital journalism from Loyola University Chicago. Read more about Amanda