It’s no surprise that with a pandemic comes increased consumption of alcohol. City legislation ushered us out of liquor stores at 6pm, while a case of beer hid underneath every toilet paper package overflowing from a grocery cart. Yet, as the pandemic wore on and our economy fluxed, alcohol’s “essential” label ensured that we’d always be able to find our way to it. As a result, the landscape of alcohol–its locales, accompaniments, and partakers–has been shifting in the last two years. While some groups have curtailed their drinking (or switched to different types of beverages), others still have their taste for alcohol. If you suspect you’ve been drinking more during this century’s pandemic, whose company are you in?

You drank moderately before? You probably drink a little less at a time, but a little more often.

We Americans drank more in the early weeks of the pandemic, but following that large spike in increased consumption, we exchanged our drinking intensity for higher frequency. Moderate drinkers especially, increased their overall consumption by drinking more days of the week than they had before. While most Europeans (with the exceptions of the English and Irish) have not increased their alcohol consumption during the pandemic, moderate American and Australian drinkers took to a European-style of imbibing, drinking less heavily but more frequently during weekday meals and evenings.

There are children in your home? Say no more.

For over two years, parents have been orchestrating childcare, homeschooling, and workplaces under their roofs during the pandemic. As a result, they’ve faced new or additional child care responsibilities alongside work or, in some cases, job loss. While those with kids usually drink less than their neighbors without, parents have been drinking more these last few years than ever before. What’s more, the bigger the brood, the heavier the booze: parents of larger families average more glasses than those with fewer kids.

Your work responsibilities changed? Add equal opportunity drinker to your resume, too.

An expanding workforce entered the economy during the pandemic: work from home-rs. Those of us with higher work security realized that our card table and folding chair setup was merely a stroll away from our liquor cabinets and refrigerators. If we weren’t searching for a second job or teaching our children fractions in between work meetings, we were likely all cooped up at home, looking to fill our time… and our glasses. For the rest of us who faced job uncertainty, we too cracked into our liquor cabinets more frequently: job-insecurity related stress was one of the top reasons for drinking more during the pandemic.

All of the above apply to you? You’re probably a woman. 

Women of childcaring age are at the convergence of the three groups discussed above. More likely to have previously drank in smaller quantities before the pandemic, more likely to have found themselves homeschooling (on top of the pressure of being the primary child caregiver), and more likely to be home as a result of the “she-cession” than men.

Have we filled your glass? Final digestifs:

After years of “unprecedented times”, which habits will we want to nurse in their “new normal” and which will we plan to leave behind? Consider these emerging needs for those who have topped off more glasses since 2020.

  • Yes, alcohol consumption has increased significantly since COVID began. However, many reflected on these newfound habits while in lock-down and side-stepped alcohol for wellness reasons. As such, pushes in low- or no-alcohol beverages have been oriented towards keeping wellness in, well, mind.
  • Has your alcohol moved since the pandemic started? Is it in a new, but more accessible spot and have your common cocktail ingredients emerged from the cabinets’ shadows? The trends behind alcohol’s motivations have shifted during the pandemic. Even when the bars open back up, home may still be a fun place for a drink. Watching these trends as vaccination rates rise could be the key to staying afloat.


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