Alcohol sales spike during COVID-19 pandemic, but it's not just for drinking

Posted at 3:59 PM, Apr 07, 2020

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — Millions of people across the country are under some kind of stay-at-home order due to the COVID-19 pandemic. It can make folks feel anxious and restless. Well, according to a recent Nielsen study, sales of alcohol jumped 55 percent in the third week of March compared to the same time last year.

The report also showed ready-to-drink cocktails like spiked lemonades or canned gin and tonics, grew the most. That had a 106 percent jump in sales.

Frugal MacDoogal Liquor store manager Myles Murphy says part of this can be attributed to panic.

"If you look at the scope of things, yes that's a spike but that's also hysteria," Murphy said, "people think they won't be able to get it later so they'll buy more at once."

But another reason Murphy says they’ve been seeing spikes is people wanting to buy alcohol to convert into hand sanitizer. One of their more popular items is pure grain alcohol otherwise known as PGA.

"It being such a high proof, it's a 190 proof making it 95 percent alcohol, it gives you the high octane you need to kill germs and bacteria," said Murphy.

Russell Thomas is the executive director of the Tennessee Alcoholic Beverage Commission. He says the hospitality industry has been hit hard but alcohol sales have been helping restaurants generate profit. Many have switched to curbside pickup and delivery which can now include alcohol.

"This has helped some of them generate profit during this difficult time to try and keep doors open and pay employees," Thomas said.

When stuck indoors it can be easy to turn to alcohol to alleviate stress or to pass the time.
Just remember to do it responsibly.

If you're interested in learning how to make some cleaning supplies with alcohol, click here.