The coronavirus pandemic meant that the British were forced to stay to try to contain its spread.
And many buy more alcohol to drink at home.
Alcohol sales in supermarkets and convenience stores jumped 22% in March, according to consumer analysts Kantar.
Total sales of wine, beer and spirits exceeded £ 1.1 billion in the four weeks to March 22. An additional £ 199 million was added compared to the same period in 2019.
UK alcohol spending in stores
Four-week moving expenses, £ 000
The growth in sales of alcoholic beverages has outpaced that of food purchases, even when customers have stored products such as pasta or rice in anticipation of self-isolation.
Online retailer Naked Wines said more people are also ordering drinks for delivery. The company said on Thursday that it expects sales in 2020 to exceed existing forecasts, exceeding £ 200 million.
The English winemaker Chapel Down also recently broke an increase in sales, due to the foreclosure linked to the coronavirus.
He said an increase in non-store and online sales should compensate for the losses seen due to the closure of pubs, bars and restaurants.
Elaine Hindal, chief executive of the Drinkaware charity, said the increase in sales “was not surprising”, but raised concerns about alcohol consumption during the lockout.
“The presence of alcohol in the home, for many people, can be a source of temptation and lead to drinking without thinking,” she said.
She added, “Little things can quickly turn into habits, like opening a bottle of wine in the afternoon when you wouldn’t normally.
“It is important to remember that the more you drink, the more you increase your alcohol tolerance, and over time it can lead to dependence.”
However, other beverage companies have said they expect sales to drop as pubs and bars remain closed.
Guinness and Smirnoff owner Diageo, for example, said on Thursday that the containment measures “had a significant impact” on his performance.
Meanwhile, the head of the Wetherspoons ad chain previously said the company had “no money from the crates” of its 850 British pubs.
The hotel industry, the UK’s third largest employer, faces a huge challenge as potential customers stay away.
To help those affected, Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced a “one-year” vacation rate for all retail, leisure and hospitality businesses.
Changing the mindset of consumers
While online and non-commerce sales can make up for some losses, some analysts have questioned whether this trend will continue.
Market research firm Mintel told the BBC that in its latest consumer survey, 20% of adults said they expected to spend less on alcohol in the next month.
Kiti Soininen, one of the company’s research directors, said: “Although there has been an early increase in retail sales of alcoholic beverages, this mood among consumers suggests that overall , the lockdown will hit the liquor market. “
She added: “Much of this volume will be completely lost from the market … [It] makes sense because food is a necessity, while alcohol is discretionary. “
As the disruption continues, some businesses may be forced to change course.
Scottish craft brewer BrewDog, for example, started producing hand sanitizer last month due to the shortage of alcohol-based cleaners.
Its founder, James Watt, said he had distributed 100,000 bottles made in his Aberdeenshire distillery to various charities.