Mix one part “more time on your hands,” one part “physical distancing” and one part “watching the bank account,” and it’s the perfect recipe for a home-brew boom.
Stores that sell beer-making supplies for the home enthusiast are seeing a substantial uptick in business since the start of the coronavirus pandemic.
“About three weeks ago, we got a tremendous spike in sales,” said Brian Janzen, owner of Centennial Homebrewing Supplies in Vancouver.
“We opened up and it was triple the amount of business we normally saw that day. Since then, it’s been steadily up.”
Physical-distancing rules have prompted Janzen to close the store and move to curbside pickup, where customers can get their barley, hops and whatever else they need to brew from home.
“During this awful time, people are staying at home a lot and home brewing — it’s something to do and it’s cost-effective,” he said.
“More time on your hand leads to more drinking. You drink when you’re happy, you drink when you are sad.”
Restaurants and bars across the province are closed, and can only do takeout or delivery service.
Liquor stores have also seen a boost in sales.
From March 12-26, sales of cask wine at government-run stores were up 144 per cent, sales of spirits in 1.75-litre bottles were climbed 153 per cent, and sales of beer in 24-packs jumped 120 per cent.
Paul Jordan, who runs the independent Mondiale Fine Beverage in Vancouver, said the high-end wine and spirits are being replaced by drinks that can be bought in bulk.
“Solid quality wines, good price, great value, are the sorts of things that I think will win going forward,” Jordan said.
The rush on alcohol has gotten the attention of addiction counsellors.
Dawn Schooler, the director of clinical services at Jericho Counselling Clinic in Vancouver, acknowledges alcohol is a natural place for many to turn in times of stress, but said consumption needs to be regulated.
“If it turns from a glass of wine here and there to a glass of wine every night or whiskey in my coffee with my first breakfast meeting, I think you need to get some help and reach out,” Schooler said.
– with files from Paul JohnsonView link »