Liquor store sales reportedly up as high 40 percent in Mississippi during COVID-19 pandemic

STARKVILLE, Miss. (WCBI) – While many industries continue to struggle, alcohol sales are up nation-wide since the pandemic started.

“It’s a good time to be in the liquor store business,” said Brady Hindman, who owns Commodore Bob’s Bottle Shop in Starkville. “People are not eating and drinking out down there so they’re coming here.”

Despite opening just before the start of the pandemic, Hindman says business is still going strong at his store.

“The pandemic pretty much started a month after we opened,” he said. “But we’re just going day by day and doing the best we can.”

Hindman says that everyone he knows in the liquor industry says their sales are up 30 to 40 percent or even higher during the pandemic.

“[Restaurants] are at limited capacity and closing at 11 o’clock and those restrictions are enforced upon us,” said Hindman, who also owns Starkville restaurant Commodore Bob’s Yacht Club. “People are maybe starting to have more social gatherings at their house.”

The money that people would have been spending at a bar or restaurant is coming in to the liquor store.

“So instead of drinking, going out and getting drinks at the bar, they come to the store and get the stuff they either need to make the drinks at their house or have a gathering at their house,” Hindman explained.

While sales have increased across the board, one issue that liquor stores are dealing with during the pandemic are delivery delays as COVID-19 impacts the Alcohol Beverage Control.

“We were getting liquor orders within two days of placing them,” Hindman said. “Now it’s going on two to three and a half weeks. And that’s just simply a fact of COVID-19 has affected the warehouse employees.”

Orders from Mississippi liquor stores are sent to ACB in Jackson, then sent out based on availability of stock and workers.

Hindman says ACB needs more funding to deal with COVID-19 issues affecting their employees, such as upgrading their facilities and increasing wages. It is currently a topic of discussion for state lawmakers.

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