Quarantined Americans Drinking More Than Ever

by | May 5, 2020 | Wine & Spirits

Reading Time: 4 minutes

Most of America has been under a “stay at home order” for the last six weeks because of COVID-19, the Novel Coronavirus. While Americans are confined to their homes, they’re coping by cracking open a few more bottles of wine or pouring more than just a few extra cocktails.

Americans already enjoyed drinking at home, but now that they’re forced to stay in, they are buying more alcoholic beverages online than ever before. In fact, online alcoholic beverage sales increased 387% for the week ending April 11, according to CNN. The week prior, sales were up a whopping 441%.

Online sales are not booming solely because restaurants and bars are closed. Total alcohol sales grew 26.2% compared to the same week last year, according to Nielsen.

Wine Online

Wine sales led the pack among alcoholic beverages, growing 36.5% Easter week compared to a year ago, and up 5.2% from the previous week.

Americans have turned to Drizly, an alcoholic delivery company that partners with liquor stores, to receive contactless deliveries. Drizly’s new customers grew 1,600% in year-over-year numbers at the end of March, according to The Hill.

“Over the last few weeks specifically, consumer awareness of the alcohol e-commerce category has exploded as more and more turn to delivery services as a safer alternative,” Drizly CEO Cory Rellas told The Hill. “We firmly believe that this will lead to a dramatic shift in consumer behavior for the long term. [Consumers] plain and simple will expect this level of service.”

Some states that previously banned alcohol deliveries are now working to lift the ban amid the pandemic and seeing the success in other states.

“There’s probably five or six states that are actively reaching out right now saying, ‘how do we get up to the status quo of some of the other states who have done this,'” Rellas told The Hill. “I actually think this is something that is going to be a much longer-term shift, so we need to set this up correctly.”

Some markets that had online delivery as an option pre-pandemic, but were slow to adapt, are now surging. Nashville, Phoenix, Indianapolis, and Newark were some of Drizly’s largest growth markets, with sales up 726%, 458%, 802%, and 649%, respectively, during the week of March 23 through 30.

Dinner With A Side Of Discount Wine

Consuming a nice glass of Cabernet Sauvignon while you enjoy a steak in a dimly lit restaurant feels like an activity of the past.

Some restaurants have completely shuttered, while others have pivoted to provide takeout.

In an effort to not lose revenue from alcoholic beverages usually sold with dinner from dine-in customers, many restaurants are offering huge discounts on bottles of wine to be delivered with customers’ takeout meals.

At the New York location of national steakhouse chain Del Frisco’s, customers can order steak kits, boxed lunch, and select wines at a discount of 50%. On some of the restaurant’s finer wine that runs $400 a bottle, that means customers can get the bottle for $200 during this pandemic.

For hard-liquor drinkers, other restaurants are providing cocktail mixes to go so that you can build your favorite cocktail in your kitchen.

What Brands Can Do Keep Sales Flowing During Stay At Home Orders

For beverage brands, to help bolster online sales, reach out to partners such as Drizly to optimize your inventory, create digital marketing campaigns, and receive customer insights and data.

Brands that typically have bustling tasting rooms, such as Charles Krug, are packaging their wines for online delivery and labeling them “survival kits.” For $429, you get a six-pack of limited release wines that includes a bottle of sparkling wine, a sauvignon blanc, and a classic Napa Valley Cabinet Sauvignon. For $472, you can receive a reds-only “survival kit.”

Wineries are also providing contactless pickup on site. Customers can order online, then come pick up their bottles during a pre-determined window.

“We know that during a time when many businesses are struggling, delivery has provided an opportunity for these businesses to continue to provide a valuable service at a local level,” Rellas told CNN Business.

For some restaurants and bars, it might just be what keeps them in business through the pandemic.

Meredith Galante

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