Alcohol Sales Skyrocket Amid COVID-19 Pandemic

Drunk wasted guy at home

When people are quarantined in their homes and most of society is shut down, idle hands become the devil’s playground. At first, it seemed there was some fun to be had while being stuck at home and having a legitimate reason not to go into the office for those of us who hadn’t gotten sick from the Coronavirus. As the weeks marched on, the cutsie, funny videos on social media and witty posts by our friends and family started to become less of a distraction from the mass layoffs, business closures, and financial distress many Americans began to feel. Having been mostly stuck at home for weeks, many of us had done more video chatting and Zoom meetings than we were comfortable with. Netflix started to get old, there was all of a sudden nothing interesting on YouTube anymore, and we played more video games than we’d like to admit. Given we can only go for so many walks in a day, what do you do to spice things up a bit?

The answer many Americans gave was to drink. And I mean DRINK. Not a couple of more glasses of wine or beer a week, but drink enough to jump alcohol sales by 55% in the last week of March. Market research showed a 75% increase in just liquor sales as compared to 2019 and of course, beer sales jumped 42% compared to last year.

The vice president of the Nielsen market research firm, Danelle Kosmal said, "I suspect that the week ending March 21st will feature the strongest growth rates that we will see during this consumer pantry-loading time. Data for the week ending 28 March will be very telling, and I think it will be a better indicator of the new normal in how consumers are responding to the crisis and their new normal, centered around the home."

Locked at home, society went from congregating at bars and clubs to having virtual happy hours where video chat is what brings everyone together. I suppose this probably eliminates the number of drunk driving arrests. Silver linings I guess.

Until our stay-at-home orders are lifted, I’d be willing to bet that the amount of alcohol consumption will continue to increase, thus driving the need for drug and alcohol rehab once this pandemic is more under control. The current situation is causing more people to experience financial distress, depression, and anxiety than in recent years. All of this is extremely hard to cope with for a lot of people who, unfortunately, will seek solace in a bottle of wine, liquor, or beer. Before this thing is over, many new cases of alcoholism will be created and need to be handled as an unfortunate byproduct of a nasty, worldwide pandemic that will forever go down in history as one of the worst public health crises ever.

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Jason Good

Jason has been working in the field of addiction and recovery for over 11 years. Having been an addict himself he brings real-word experience to the table when helping addicts and their families, while also offering a first-person perspective to the current drug crisis. Jason is passionate about educating the public about what’s currently going on in our society, and thankfully, offers practical solutions. Jason is also the co-host of The Addiction Podcast—Point of No Return. You can follow Jason on Google+, Twitter, or connect with him on LinkedIn.