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Nationwide coronavirus lockdowns cut off access to bars for many Americans, but they only heightened the demand for alcohol. Some types more than others.
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According to data from analytics firm Nielsen, a widening swath of the U.S. population turned to hard seltzers and cheap beer for solace or refreshment, depending on the person and the situation.
Some breweries were forced to ramped up production levels just to meet demand.
From March 7 through June 6, in-store sales of domestic premium light beers, which include Bud Light, Miller Lite and Coors Light, increased more than 10 percent compared with the same time last year, according to data compiled by Nielsen.
Sales of hard seltzers, meanwhile, more than quadrupled during the same span of time.
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Among retail consumers, 44 percent were first-time buyers, meaning they didn't purchase the drink in the year prior to March 2020, Nielsen's data suggests.
One brewery, Chicago’s Solemn Oath, ramped up output of its hard seltzer brand City Water by 300 percent beyond its forecast when the product was introduced in November 2019, a spokesperson for the company told FOX Business.
The drink has since been sold within supermarkets and liquor stores.
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It's a consistent trend for seltzers, which surpassed $1.5 billion in in-store sales by the end of 2019, according to the global measurement and data analytics company.
Online sales of alcohol alone have also skyrocketed from a year earlier, up 234 percent, making it the fastest-growing e-commerce item among consumer packaged goods, according to separate data gathered by Nielsen.
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The trends in both retail and online purchases may shift as restaurants and bars begin to phase in operations, however.
“We expect the total dollar spending on alcohol will decline," said Danny Brager, senior vice president of Nielsen's beverage alcohol practice. "Consumers are shifting the dollars they would have spent on alcohol in a restaurant, bar, or tasting room to alcoholic beverages they can buy at a lower mark-up from retailers, online merchants and even directly from the supplier in the instances where it is legalized to do so.”
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