On-site sales of whiskey and other spirits that were hit at the start of the pandemic have recently begun to recover.
While take-out and carry-out alcohol sales remained strong for restaurants, it was unclear what would happen to establishments once COVID-19 lockdowns are lifted.
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In 2021, on-site alcohol sales increased 53% from the previous year (when the pandemic began), Reuters reports. While this may have been a sign of hope for business owners, total sales were still down 14% from pre-pandemic levels.
However, a change from pre-pandemic shopping habits has been an increase in demand for super premium whiskey brands. Sales of these high-quality (and high-cost) brands increased 15.6% in the bourbon, Tennessee whiskey and rye segments.
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Chris Swonger, President and CEO of the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States, said: “Consumers enjoying spirits at home and trading up to premium brands, combined with the gradual reopening of bars and restaurants, drove record sales for the spirits sector.”
While on-site sales increased last year, off-site sales remained relatively stable. In the first year of the pandemic, home-use alcohol sales increased dramatically, but it appears the trend has peaked. While take-out sales are still strong, many restaurants have adapted by offering more take-out options.
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A restaurant owner spoke to The Associated Press about how he started offering more premium single-barrel options for take-out options. While the year ahead still holds a lot of uncertainty, many in the industry have expressed optimism that people will continue to buy whiskey no matter where they need it. to drink.