Oregonians Buying More Booze During Pandemic

  This May, individual consumers in Oregon spent $63.2 million on liquor—a 45% increase compared to $43.5 million spent in May 2019.   

Sales figures from the Oregon Liquor Control Commission show that this is becoming a trend.   

As outlined in a recent Willamette Week report, May was the third month in a row that monthly liquor sales to individual consumers have increased by more than 40% compared to the same month last year.  

This April’s total of $57.9 million in individual liquor sales marked a 48% increase from $39 million in April 2019. Likewise, this March’s total of $59.3 million marked a 44% increase from $41.2 million in March 2019. 

While these figures spike, sales to liquor licensees such as bars and restaurants have experienced the opposite trend—as these establishments have had their businesses curtailed due to statewide efforts to limit the spread of COVID-19.  

This May, sales to licensees experienced an 86% reduction compared to last year, falling from 13.9 million in May 2019 to $1.9 million this year. April’s figures are even more severe—a 99% drop from $13.5 million last year to just $88,000 in April 2020. 

Factoring in both of these trends, monthly net liquor sales have been on the rise compared to their 2019 totals— increasing by $11 million in March, $5.6 million in April, and $7.7 million in May. 

By JD Brookbank