Alcohol sales rise sharply during pandemic

NBC News
Created: February 17, 2021 03:50 PM

(NBC News) The coronavirus pandemic is affecting all of us in different ways. Experts say one noticeable trend is an increase in alcohol consumption.

Analysts at the cash rebate website Ibotta discovered its customers bought 33% more hard liquor and spirits last year than they did during the same period in 2019.

"Maybe it's related to some of the challenges that people have and this is a coping strategy. Maybe it's more about not going out, but it's something that's we've never seen before in 10 years of looking at this data," says Ibotta CEO Bryan Leach.

The Rand Corporation found in a survey of 1,500 Americans that alcohol consumption was up 14% last spring. Among women, it was up 41%. 

"People tend to drink during this time because of the stress they are under, the anxiety, the uncertainty, and frankly no one is looking," says Dr. Akhil Anand, a psychiatrist.

For some people, it will spiral out of control.

"It does help with anxiety initially, and then over time you develop tolerance and then you need more and more for the same effect," Dr. Anand notes.

Dr. Anand says there are red flags, such as drinking during the workday, which indicate you should talk to your primary care doctor about your drinking.

Click here for resources to help combat alcohol abuse.

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