One in Three US Workers Likely to Drink Alcohol in Isolation: Survey
Sun, April 11, 2021

One in Three US Workers Likely to Drink Alcohol in Isolation: Survey

Over one in three respondents are likely to drink more alcohol in isolation while one-fifth of them have stockpiled alcohol for the quarantine period. / Photo by: Syda Productions via Shutterstock


Maybe it’s the closure of restaurants and bars or perhaps it’s escapism, but whatever the reason is, a new survey has found that one in three workers in the US is likely to drink alcohol while quarantined.

American addiction centers resource recently surveyed 3,000 American workers and found that over one in three respondents are likely to drink more alcohol in isolation while one-fifth of them have stockpiled alcohol for the quarantine period.

Drinking alcohol while working at home

The survey also found that 30% of Washingtonians, 26% Oregonians, 47% Idahoans, 42% Montanans, and 40% Nevadans are drinking alcohol at home during working hours. Beer is the drink of choice for employees who drink at home during work hours.

About 38% of participants from North Dakota are drinking alcohol at home too during working hours, similar to Minnesota (31%), Wisconsin (32%), Michigan (30%), Pennsylvania (38%), New York (38%), Vermont (31%), Maine (15%), Wyoming (25%), South Dakota (22%), Iowan (47%), Illinois (23%), Indiana  (26%), Ohio (22%), Utah (29%), Colorado (38%), Kansas (47%),  Missouri (32%), Kentucky (26%) , Virginia (50%), California (38%), Arizona (39%), New Mexico (20%), Texas (22%), Oklahoma (41%), Arkansas (8%), Tennessee (33%), North Carolina (30%), Louisiana (26%), Mississippi (13%), Alabama (21%), Georgia (33%), South Carolina (28%) , Alaska (32%), Hawaii (67%), and Florida (22%).

Beer sales went up by 42%

Market research firm Nielsen Holdings has also noticed an increase of US$836.3 million or 19% in the sales of beer for the week ending April 4 compared to the same one-week period in 2019. Between March 15 and 21, beer category dollar sales declined following the stock-up week when sales reached $967.1 million (42%).

There was sales growth in the weeks of stocking up that ended on March 28 as the number of households increased in their overall spending, including purchasing beers. A total of 19% more households bought beers.

Nielsen added that the week ending March 21 was a peak for plenty of households made purchases. Brewers Association chief economist Bart Watson also shared in his Twitter account that craft dollar sales rose to 21.1% in the last four weeks although he cautioned that despite the gains, most breweries were still down in off-premise sales because most of their revenue and sales come from on-premise or onsite.

Off-premise sales mean direct to consumer sales for consumption off the premises of an establishment. These are considered “to-go” sales of packaged products from establishments, such as package stores or wineries. On-premise sales, on the other hand, means that liquor is consumed on-site, such as in bars, casinos, hotels, and restaurants.

According to another report by Vox, it is not just beer sales that went up but also wine (66% increase), ready-to-drink cocktail (106%), liquor and spirits (75%), alcohol (55%), and 24- and 30-packs of beer (90%).



Online alcohol sales up by 243%

Alcohol sales were up even if bars and restaurants are closed as people purchased online. Boston-based alcohol delivery platform Drizly said the sales of alcohol online exceeded its expectations. The firm’s head of consumer insights Liz Paquette said that most drinkers are just sticking to what they normally purchase. The top seller has always been red wine although other American consumers opted for lower-priced bottles too.


Alcohol sales were up even if bars and restaurants are closed as people purchased online. / Photo by: rawf8 via Shutterstock


Virtual happy hours

Drizly team hypothesizes that people are experimenting with cocktail making at home. The obvious impact they noticed is within syrups, mixers, cordials, bitters, and liqueurs. So, they believe that more people are experimenting at home, which makes it like the hospitality industry has shifted at home doing virtual happy hours and DIY online classes.

American author and host of the food network program Barefoot Contessa Ina Garten is one of the personalities who shared with her audience her “cocktail hour” version. The Instagram video shows Garten emptying a bottle of Grey Goose vodka into a cocktail pitcher for breakfast. The food icon appears to encourage her viewers to drink while being quarantined and even before noon as shown in her video. Americans seem to have concluded that there is no wrong place or time to drink since things work differently due to the pandemic and there is only one place where people are: at home.

Covid-19, changing the drinking habits of Americans

Breathalyzer leader BACtrack has also published how the coronavirus is causing a dramatic change in the drinking habits of Americans while they are on lockdown. More Americans have downloaded the BACtrack alcohol delivery app and there was an increase in video happy hours.

Collecting data anonymously from the BACtrack app, the company found that Americans are most likely to drink on Tuesday (33.3%) or Wednesday (26.7%) and least likely on Monday and Saturday (both 6.7%). On Thursdays, only 13.3% of Americans drink, and 13.3% do so on Fridays.

In the first week after quarantine, alcohol drinking in California also surged 47% but they drank less (51%) during the weekend and more during weekdays. The company said that the purpose of their BACtrack Consumption Report is to provide insight on people about alcohol consumption patterns and to encourage them to consider the effects of alcohol. Also, it will help them make smarter decisions. Their data was between March and April 2020 and they only used data from US users with location services turned on and data storage activated. It does not represent data from all of its app users.

Many states have relaxed alcohol delivery laws and have deemed liquor stores to be an “essential service.”  Popular platforms that Americans use in searching for alcohol delivery service in their area are Drizly for overall online service, Total Wine to know the wine on demand on the market, Winc to know the wine of the month, Minibar for easy searchability, and Saucey for fast delivery. Saucey is popular for offering 30-minute delivery or two-day shipping of liquor, beer, and wine with no order minimums and delivery fees. The price is what users see in the app but it operates only in certain cities, such as Silicon Valley, Los Angeles, and Dallas, among others.

Many people, not just Americans, want to give themselves a break from the anxiety and stress of coronavirus. Yet, people must realize that the same rules still apply when it comes to drinking at home. Only enjoy it in moderation.