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Have people's drinking habits increased during pandemic? We checked the numbers.

Wine, beer and spirit sales have jumped during the pandemic, but the industry may be struggling as a whole

NORFOLK, Va. — Whether it’s beer, wine or liquor, many Americans are coping with the coronavirus by drinking more at home.

According to Nielsen, off-premise sales for wine are up 26%. For beer, sales are up 17%, and spirit sales have jumped 32% compared to this time last year.

What specific things are people drinking? Budget beers like Natural Light are popular along with spiked seltzers like White Claw.

The idea is that people are buying in bulk to stock up so they’re choosing budget-friendly options to do so, and the spiked seltzer industry was surging even before the pandemic. Sales have already reached $1 billion this year, compared to $1.5 billion in all of 2019.

You wouldn’t be wrong to assume the alcohol industry as a whole is doing great after seeing those numbers.

But the truth is that when you look at the bigger picture, people, on the whole, are drinking less.

The gains in off-premise sales aren’t quite balancing out the loss of sales at breweries, bars and restaurants that continue to struggle.

In fact, beverage analysis company ISWR reports the global alcohol industry has seen a double-digit decline and predicts it won’t fully rebound until 2024.

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