Whiskey price

Whiskey sales in restaurants and bars continue to grow

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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Restaurants and bars forced to close due to the pandemic have had a significant impact on whiskey sales. (iStock/iStock)

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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two men clinking glasses with whiskey drinking alcohol together at pub counter

During the pandemic, trends suggest that many alcohol drinkers have started mixing their own drinks at home and have developed a taste for higher quality spirits. (iStock/iStock)

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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Two glasses of whiskey with ice

Whiskey sales have increased over the past year, although premium spirits continue to be popular. (iStock/iStock)

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.