RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — Liquor sales in North Carolina jumped 12% during the fiscal year that ended on June 30, according to data from the state’s Alcoholic Beverage Control Commission.
The increase largely came in March after Gov. Roy Cooper shut down bars and restaurants due to the coronavirus pandemic, The Fayetteville Observer reported.
Charles Hill owns multiple liquor stores in the state. He told the newspaper that customers said they purchased large amounts of alcohol because of fears Cooper would also shut down liquor stores. It was “panic buying, just like before a storm comes in,” Hill said. “People were buying a lot more half-gallons, which are the 1.75 liter bottles.”
The liquor stores never closed down, but with the continued restrictions on bars, customers continue to make their drinks at home, Hill, who is also the manager of the New Hanover County Alcoholic Beverage Control Board, told the newspaper.
Bars and restaurants in the state are required to purchase alcohol from a state operated Alcoholic Beverage Control stores. Those sales tumbled during the shutdowns and have remained below normal levels as of last month, the newspaper reported.