Americans Did Indeed Buy More Alcohol During the Pandemic

Though beer sales actually leveled out during the pandemic.

The Good Brigade/DigitalVision/Getty Images
The Good Brigade/DigitalVision/Getty Images

According to a new study, reported by CNN and surprising no one, Americans bought more booze during the early pandemic than they did in years prior. The confinement, stress, and uncertainty led to the increase in alcohol sales.

Some states saw more drastic upticks compared to others, and what kind of alcohol was purchased also varied by locale.

The study, published on Wednesday, evaluated alcohol sales in 16 states, as gathered by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAA), as well as anonymous data from over 45 million digital devices that track visits to places that sell alcohol, per CNN.

The data, which looked at sales between March and June 2020, revealed that wine and liquor sales increased an average of 11% in those states, compared to the same time in 2018 and 2019. In Texas, Kentucky, Virginia, and Missouri, the average increase of alcohol sales rose even more than that, increasing by 20 to 40%.

Beer sales actually leveled out during the pandemic, according to sales data. The only states where beer sales increased during the pandemic were Texas, Kentucky, and Arkansas. The results of the study "can be alarming signals for problematic alcohol use." It has prompted questions of what response should be put in place.

"Our findings suggest the need for a more comprehensive policy relating to alcohol availability, as to whether it should be considered an 'essential' product," one study coauthor Yingjie Hu, from the University of Buffalo, told CNN. "Hopefully this could help our society as a whole address problems related to excessive alcohol use during a public health crisis," Hu added.

The NIAA has a complete list of resources and information for anyone looking to find assistance for themselves or someone else.

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Opheli Garcia Lawler is a staff writer at Thrillist. Follow her on Twitter @opheligarcia and Instagram @opheligarcia.