Alcohol sales up 55% from this time last year, ‘numbers I’ve never seen before’, says local store manager


PENFIELD, N.Y. (WROC) — It’s not just toilet paper people are stocking up on during quarantine. Alcohol sales are up 55 percent compared to the same time last year and online alcohol sales are up 243 percent.

Curbside pickup is the new normal at Lisa’s Liquor Barn in Penfield. Store manager Leeann Riesenberger said they’re strongly encouraging customers to order online. People can then drive up right in front of the store, an employee will come out and check their ID, and give them their alcohol.

“It’s been record sales. We’re up significantly over last year, numbers I’ve never seen before I mean you’re talking holiday numbers in March and increasing every week,” said Riesenberger.

She said there was originally a surge when people thought liquor stores were closing but the rush hasn’t stopped.

“I think people are liking the convenience of doing the curbside and online ordering so who knows, we certainly want to encourage that now though. We are open for business but we really want to keep people at a distance and ordering online.”

Riesenberger said shipping is also up and she’s shipped as far as New York City and even other states.

What drinks are people reaching for most? Across the country, liquor is up 75 percent with tequila, gin, and pre-mixed cocktails at the top. Wine sales are up 66 percent and beer is up 42 percent.

Riesenberber said she’s noticed one particular item flying off the shelves at her store.

“We’ve seen more liquor sales, a lot of the grain alcohol people are making sanitizer out of.”

Other things the store has done to stay safe are cut store hours and reduced staff by half, based on who was comfortable staying. All staff members who are still working will get a bonus until this is over.

She said they haven’t gotten word of having to close but they are prepared for the worst and will go to curbside only if needed.

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