The coronavirus pandemic and associated responses have shaken many industries and caused consumers to reconsider their habits. CivicScience has been surveying drinking habits, specifically, to learn how alcohol consumption is being affected by the cocktail of changes that widespread quarantine is serving to America.

To determine both what and how much people are drinking, CivicScience compared how frequently people drink wine, beer, clear spirits (i.e., gin or vodka) or brown spirits (i.e., whiskey or dark rum) with their drinking habits while quarantined. 

Drinking Trends Vary for Beer

In this comparison, a pattern emerged among those who do drink wine, clear spirits, or brown spirits: those that drink these beverages at least twice a week are most likely to report drinking alcohol more often as a result of the coronavirus, followed by those who drink them once a month or less. People who typically drink once a week to twice a month actually report an overall decrease in frequency.Strangely, beer drinkers do not seem to be following this trend. Whereas with the other three beverages the most and least frequent drinkers were those most affected, it is the occasional beer drinkers who have increased the most in frequency. Those who drink beer most and least often have tailed off.Whatever the cause, beer drinkers’ reactions to staying at home seem to be completely inverted from those who drink other types of alcohol.

Fluctuation in the Wine Drinking Population

The overall frequency with which people drink beer or spirits has been rather stable according to CivicScience tracking, but wine has been a slightly different story since the last week of February. As national attention was beginning to turn toward the coronavirus, the frequency with which people answered that they never drink wine began to fluctuate. Since then that number has gone through several clear peaks and valleys, demonstrating not so much a trend as the mere fact of change.This instability is not present among drinkers of beer or spirits.

Drinkers are Shopping for Alcohol Online

Finally, CivicScience asked more than 3,500 people whether they had purchased alcohol online in the last two weeks specifically due to the coronavirus. Of the 2,700 who drink alcohol, 16% said yes and 11% said they are planning to do so. That’s more than a quarter of the drinking population at least looking toward getting their alcohol online–a significant shift.Whether or not people return to their normal habits after stay at home orders are lifted, the coronavirus has presented an opportunity to online alcohol distributors. 

The pandemic and our response to it continues to unfold, so it remains to be seen whether these changes in habit or preference will be a fluke or a trend. Either way, America is still drinking as it weathers this storm from home.