Study shows uptick in U.S. alcohol beverage sales during COVID-19 pandemic

To paraphrase Claude Rains in the movie Casablanca, “I’m shocked, shocked to learn that … “

During the COVID-19 pandemic months of March 2020 to September 2020, U.S. alcohol retail store sales increased compared to usual trends while food services and drinking places sales decreased markedly during the same period, according to a new study at Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health. These results indicate an increase in home drinking in the U.S. The findings are published online in the journal Alcohol.

Photo by Olenka Sergienko on

The researchers used alcohol retail store sales data of beer, wine, and liquor store (BWLS) purchases from January 1992 to September 2020 from the Monthly Retail Trade Survey, which provides sales estimates at retail and food services. Alcohol sales changes in the U.S. throughout the COVID-19 pandemic were used as an indicator of at-home drinking.  Calculating variations in monthly sales enabled the authors to show annual differences in monthly BWLS sales between consecutive years from 1992 to 2020.


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4 responses to “Study shows uptick in U.S. alcohol beverage sales during COVID-19 pandemic

  1. Not shocked at all Tony! I can honestly and even ashamedly admit, that these pandemic times have been the ONLY time in my entire life that I’ve had a desire to drink (I’m 62). I’m not a drinker and never have been. I consider myself a teetotaler. Alcoholism runs in my family (bigtime) and so I vowed as a young child to never start drinking, as I saw what it did to people and families. I knew I had the genes. But yeah, the stress of this coronavirus, having family members who contracted it and wondering if they would live or die, and losing people I love from this virus, has about done me in and made me want to turn to something to numb the pain (or calm the anxiety). It’s the first time I’ve ever, EVER felt like that!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for sharing, Gail. It really is amazing how this pandemic has reached into everyone’s life and caused some turmoil. I have found yoga and yoga breathing to be very strong stress relievers. They might help. Good luck! I hope we are close to the end of this thing.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Thanks Tony. I really need to get a better handle on my “pandemic stress.” Here in the south, I am afraid we are nowhere near the end of this virus. I wonder if it will EVER go away. I guess the thinking is it will eventually move from a pandemic to an endemic, like the flu and chickenpox. It will be interesting to see what exactly it does.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Right. This is a drama that we are all players inside of. What will happen next?

        Liked by 1 person

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