With Hawaii residents forced to stay at home, booze sales boom

With Hawaii residents forced to stay at home, booze sales boom

HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - With thousands of Hawaii residents forced to stay at home due to the coronavirus pandemic, sales of alcoholic beverages are booming.

Local spirit and wine distributors and Hawaii’s largest, locally owned grocery store said they’ve seen a big spike in the sales of alcoholic beverages in recent weeks.

“People started to ramp up their buying so that they have what they need to stay at home," said Keoni Chang, vice president and chief food officer at Foodland Super Market Ltd. He noted that the retailer’s meat, produce and alcoholic beverages sales have all increased by double-digit percentages.

“We’ve always had strong beer sales and good wine sale but the base spirits took a jump. You’re talking about vodka, rum, tequila.”

It’s happening all over the country.

According to the market research firm Nielsen, booze sales were up 55 percent during the third week of March when stay-at-home orders began to be issued around the country.

But it’s not just at the grocery stores. Liquor stores and warehouse clubs like Costco have seen a big increase in alcohol sales.

For some residents, stockpiling beverages helps them cope with the stress of the coronavirus pandemic and the long days shut in under the stay-at-home order.

“It takes a little of the edge off, kind of helps mark a separation in the day," said Tasha Gibson of Kailua. "Because the hours seem to run on.”

John Parker of Waikiki agreed.

“I’m drinking a little bit more, maybe the extra glass or two,” he said. “It takes the edge off a little bit from the concern over the virus and all that. It’s probably not good for you.”

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