Oct 16, 2020 6:00 PM

Kansas liquor sales rise during pandemic

Posted Oct 16, 2020 6:00 PM
Liquor Store on Massachusetts Street in Lawrence-Google image
Liquor Store on Massachusetts Street in Lawrence-Google image

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Business is booming for one segment of the economy in Kansas during the coronavirus pandemic: liquor stores.

Tax collections on liquor sales at stores are up 17.9% from July to September compared to last year, according to data from the Kansas Department of Revenue.

It’s not just Kansas. The data organization Nielsen says liquor sales at stores are up 22.7% nationwide from March 1 through mid-September compared to the same time last year.

The surge in alcohol sales comes as bars and restaurants have taken a severe hit due to the pandemic.

“So instead of going to the bar and buying their drink, they’re going to the liquor store and taking it home with them,” said Kansas Department of Revenue Director of Taxation Steve Stotts.

Brian Davis, who owns one of the five Davis Liquor Outlets around Wichita, said every day from March to June was like Christmas time, when liquor sales tend to increase. Sales started to recede but only briefly — the arrival of football season caused another spike.

“5 o’clock came really early every day for everyone since March,” Davis said.

The extra business has meant two or three additional employees hired at each location, which is about a 33% increase in employees.