Local News

NC liquor sales spike during outbreak

Posted April 14, 2020 2:32 p.m. EDT
Updated April 14, 2020 6:29 p.m. EDT

Whether it’s panic buying out of fear ABC stores would close, or people looking for a way to take the edge off, liquor sales soared in North Carolina in March, just as the coronavirus pandemic picked up steam.

Overall, North Carolina liquor sales jumped 21%. The increase was fueled by people heading out to ABC retail stores, which experienced a 38% increase in sales. ABC stores are deemed an essential business under the governor’s executive stay-at-home order, so they are allowed to remain open.

The overall jump in sales came at the same time taps were turned off at restaurants and bars. The governor ordered those establishments closed for drinking and dining on March 17th.

ABC sales to businesses that sell liquor by the drink fell 53% in March. In many cases, ABC systems bought unused liquor back from bars and restaurants to help them out financially.

Wake ABC General Manager Ike Wheeler says sales have started to regulate, which may mean people did rush out to stock up on liquor in case stores were closed. Wheeler says he and his staff continue to make the best out of a tough situation.

"We’re doing everything we can for the employees. We’re doing everything we can for the public. This is a time everybody needs to come together and work together for a common good and try to get us all through this," he said.

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