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Surge in US spirits sales due to stockpiling

American liquor retailers have seen a huge increase in sales of distilled spirits as customers stock up against the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.

(Photo: iStock)

In the four weeks to March 21 Neilsen data reports total sales soaring by 24.9%, with bourbon and gin being the most popular categories, jumping by 34.1% and 30% respectively.

Analysts agree that the American public was laying in stocks for home consumption in advance of much tighter social distancing measures being imposed by states and the national government.

They also believe that the soaring take-home sales reflect the enforced switch in consumption away from bars, restaurants and hotels, which have been forced to close.

The potential extra spending power available to the public in major cities such as New York where commuting is curbed and people are working from home, is also thought to be a factor.

Nielsen’s figures will be some small solace to the global spirits producers who are expecting major hits to their sales and profitability in the on sector and travel retail sectors as a result of Covid 19.

They show Diageo enjoying a 19.5% US off sales uplift, the same as Constellation Brands, and Beam Suntory putting on 21.7% in the four weeks. Sales of both the Pernod Ricard and Sazerac ranges rose by 22.7%, but the most popular producer was Brown-Forman, which saw its take-home sales gain 28.9% as Americans laid in supplies of Jack Daniels bourbon.

However, sales are expected to slump in the next four weeks – and possibly beyond – as the pandemic sweeps America and customers are forced to rely on their stocks at home as tight restrictions on personal movement are enforced.

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