At the North Country Bottle Shop in Mora, Jim Hulbert knew exactly where to find the booze he needed to make his signature drink: “bacuckuu” made with rum and Wild Cherry Pepsi.
“There’s not much else a person can do,” Hulbert said, saying the coronavirus pandemic and subsequent stay-at-home order has “pushed us into our homes, and I’ll admit, pushed us more to drink.”
Liquor sales at the North Country Bottle Shop, the city of Mora’s municipal liquor store, have spiked dramatically since bars and restaurants closed on March 18.
Sales typically increase in the spring as more metro-area travelers head north for recreation, but not at this level. Liquor sales for April were 61% higher than they were in 2019.
Mora City Administrator Lindy Crawford speculated that consumers have shifted their usual alcohol consumption at bars to having a drink at home.
While this benefits liquor store profits, bars are taking a hit.
“We hope restaurants and bars can reopen soon, because the North Country Bottle Shop does not strive to be in competition with them and we want our local businesses to thrive,” Crawford said.
Store supply has kept up —mostly.
Crawford reported that shopper behavior has changed.
“We are hearing from our customers that they are shopping smart by buying more in one trip so they don’t find themselves needing to come back so often – lessening their trips in public and exposure to other shoppers. We appreciate that shoppers are being smart, and also want shoppers to know that there is no need to buy in bulk,” she said.
Most popular among shoppers have been beer and seltzers. Boxed wine has become particularly popular, to the point the store has occasionally run out. Crawford said though the store puts in orders for the product, the supply isn’t always available.
“No one was prepared for these unprecedented times and vendors statewide, alcoholic and non-alcoholic, sometimes simply cannot keep up, but work very hard to try,” Crawford said.