Booze Business is Booming: Connecticut Liquor Sales Spike

As the coronavirus outbreak has caused an economic hardship across Connecticut as many small businesses have been ordered to close their doors, one particular type of business has thrived: liquor stores.

Bottles have flown off the shelves at many wine, beer, and liquor stores. Several shops reported an uptick this week, as cases of coronavirus climbed and more Connecticut residents began stockpiling their favorite libations in anticipation of a long work-from-home period 

Deemed an “essential business” by Governor Ned Lamont, liquor stores are allowed to stay open amid the coronavirus outbreak.

State officials are not currently considering closing Connecticut package stores, according to officials from the Wine and Spirit Wholesalers (WSWC) of Connecticut.

Larry Cafero, executive director of WSWC, said he spoke with the governor’s office and was told they are not considering a closure of package stores at this time.

Marvin Friedman, owner of Maple End Package Store in Bristol told the Bristol Press.

“When the quarantining and social distancing first began, Friedman said there was an initial period of a few days of panic buying last week.

“People were acting like the world was coming to an end,” he said. “They are anxious and uncertain and a lot of them were stocking up. But once they knew that we would be staying open, they were reassured and things have gotten back to normal.”

Not everyone is in agreement liquor stores are really essential at a time like this. But it’s up to state to decide.

Cafero said that Carroll Hughes of CPSA, who also represents the police chiefs of Connecticut, had voiced concerns about potential “lawlessness” if package stores were to close and consumers were unable to buy wine or spirits, given the ban already handed down to restaurants and bars.

Restaurants and bars in Connecticut have been ordered to close all in-house dining and only offer take-out options which now includes alcohol on the go according to the Hartford Courant.

“Connecticut restaurants will be allowed to sell alcoholic beverages for off-premises consumption. The state Department of Consumer Protection approved it effective Thursday evening.

The implementation order allows restaurants and other liquor permittees to sell sealed alcoholic beverages in the manufacturers’ containers for off-premise consumption during regular liquor store hours.

At Max Restaurant Group, the restaurants offering takeout food plan to sell beer and wine with to-go orders, and Brian Mitchell, the group’s director of wine and beverages, says pricing will be adjusted to be more in line with retail markets, as opposed to a restaurant markup.”

In addition to Connecticut, New York, New Jersey and Illinois have decided to keep liquor stores open. But in the city of Denver they are closed

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