Have the British turned to drink in the current crisis? When you’re stuck in front of an online merchant’s checkout page, waiting for an elusive and inevitably distant delivery slot, that feels like the logical conclusion. It’s backed up by sales figures. According to market research firm IWSR, sales of beer, wine and spirits in supermarkets and off-licences were up by a fifth in the first week of lockdown at the end of March, while online sales of alcohol for the same period jumped an unprecedented 50%. That sounds suspiciously like a boom. The kind of boom that even alcohol sellers might want to be wary of celebrating too much, lest they’re accused of profiteering or having too good a crisis. In reality, while some wine sellers – notably Majestic and the supermarkets, but a number of online-savvy independents, too – have struggled to keep up with the surge in demand, the wine business as a whole has been badly hit by the economic shutdown. The same IWSR report estimates that the drinks trade lost 40% of its sales at a stroke when the government closed pubs, bars and restaurants. The spike in home drinking (which, anecdotally, seems to be… Read full this story
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