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Liquor stores across B.C. see record sales during coronavirus pandemic

A half-empty beer fridge is seen at the BC Liquor Store on Commercial Drive in Vancouver.
A half-empty beer fridge is seen at the BC Liquor Store on Commercial Drive in Vancouver. Simon Little / Global News

It’s clear British Columbians are turning to liquid comfort to deal with the novel coronavirus pandemic.

According to numbers provided by the provincial government, sales at BC Liquor Stores are booming.

Overall counter sales at BC Liquor Stores have gone up 40 per cent for the month.

Over the last two weeks cask wine sales at government-run stores across the province have increased by 144 per cent.

Sales of spirits sold in the 1.75 litre containers have gone up by 153 per cent, while sales of beer in 24 packs have increased by 120 per cent.

B.C. officials to crackdown on panic buying at local liquor and grocery stores
B.C. officials to crackdown on panic buying at local liquor and grocery stores

Private liquor stores are seeing similar increases.

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Assistant manager Kady Smith at Legacy Liquor store in Vancouver says she hasn’t had the time to crunch the numbers yet because of how busy the store has been.

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But says sales have been “comparable to the last week leading up to Christmas, which is the historically the busiest time of the year.”

“It is busy. People are stocking up and make sure they what they need from when they are at home,” Smith said.

READ MORE: Why liquor stores are an essential service amid the coronavirus pandemic

There has also been a shift in what people are buying.

Legacy specializes in high-end whiskies and collectible wines, but shoppers now are stocking up on core basics like gins and vodkas as well as good value wines where people can afford multiple bottles.

Smith says what has helped getting through the crunch has been the kindness of the customers.

“We are so thankful to our clients for being so respectful and supporting us and coming up and showing their appreciation by simply being kind,” Smith said.

“Having to work through this is a little different and can be difficult being exposed to people every day. What has made it a lot easier has been the clients recognizing that.”