Liquor sales are rare bright spot during pandemic downturn

Sales data for April shows liquor sales were up nearly 44% over last year.

Millions are out of work. Thousands can’t pay their rent. We’re officially in a recession. But there is at least one bright spot in the economy: Liquor sales.

Sales data reported by MLive shows that Michigan residents bought significantly more alcohol than usual during the early days of the pandemic.

In March, the sale of alcohol increased 18% over the same period in 2019. In April, it shot up 43.8%. That data comes from monthly numbers released by the Michigan Liquor Control Commission.

The sales peak is attributable to several causes.

First, people stuck at home without much to do are more prone to drink. That was certainly the case in March and April, right after Governor Gretchen Whitmer issued her stay-at-home orders.

Second, Congressionally-approved stimulus money meant that many Michiganders had a little extra expendable income.

Third, bars and restaurants were closed. That meant people couldn’t go out to drink and thus did it at home instead.

Lastly, and notably, the April sales data for 2020 includes one more week than it did in 2019 due to the state’s accounting schedule. Some of the additional sales is attributable to that fact, but not all of it.

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