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Social Distancing Is Forcing People to Stock Up on Whiskey, Wine and Beer on the Internet

According to new data from online booze sellers, people are adding whiskey to your list of essential panic buys.

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In the early days of social distancing, Americans have hoarded toilet paper, hand sanitizer, canned foods, dry beans and other essentials. Most of these purchases are done online, with products delivered right to their front doors. According to new data from online booze delivery services, we can add alcohol to the list.

Drizly, an online alcohol shop that delivers spirits, wine and beer, recorded its highest sales day ever on Tuesday, March 18th. It wasn’t just more purchases, either; Drizly says shoppers are spending on average 50 percent more per order than normal, meaning its customers are stocking up.

Reserve Bar, an alcohol delivery service with a focus on gifting, has also reported accelerated growth since large swaths of the population began self-quarantining. Reserve Bar’s CMO Derek Correia called his company’s services a “great way to lift the spirits of a friend or relative during these difficult times.”

Shopping for alcohol online is new to many Americans, with a mixture of confusing red tape and lack of impetus to blame. Sites like Drizly, Reserve Bar, Minibar and others are not alcohol retailers; they are delivery services that receive your order, push it to local liquor stores and facilitate delivery or in-person pickup. This means the selection of whiskey, wine and beer you see on these sites reflects their most up to date inventories.

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Chris Wright

Jonathan Goldstein, co-owner of Park Avenue Liquor Shop, and Nima Ansari, spirits buyer at New York City retailer Astor Wine & Spirits, say the rush has reached or exceeded holiday levels, when alcohol delivery is at its peak.

“I’ve noticed people focusing more on the staples,” Ansari said, “the things they know they like and make them happy and the most versatile types of items, both with an eye toward comfort and getting creative with the longer hours spent at home and making some cocktails.”

Goldstein, whose store is known for its whiskey selection and offers delivery through Drizly, Minibar, Caskers, and Delivery.com, noted a significant increase in volume per order as well as increased demand for over-proof products, at one point selling out of them completely. Goldstein believes this may be tied to drinkers using booze as a means to sanitize.

With companies like Drizly, probably the largest player in the online alcohol shopping market, reporting sales four-times higher than earlier in the year (six-and-a-half-times higher if you look at just the early part of this week), it looks like a nationwide fear of going to the store has provided the spark for wider acceptance of online booze ordering.

Note: Purchasing products through our links may earn us a portion of the sale, which supports our editorial team’s mission. Learn more here.

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