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Mississippi alcohol sales reportedly outpaced nation during pandemic

Published: Sep. 13, 2021 at 7:50 PM CDT
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JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - Mississippi may be in the middle of the Bible Belt, but during the pandemic residents were belting down alcohol.

The state reportedly leads the nation in an increase in liquor sales since the onset of the pandemic. Mississippians reportedly purchased more than 400,000 more cases of alcohol during the pandemic, keeping liquor stores busy trying to meet demand.

Alcohol was flying off the shelves when the pandemic swept the state, at times even leading to delays in shipments to liquor stores from ABC’s warehouse in Gluckstadt. The Mississippi Department of Revenue oversees Alcohol Beverage Control which distributes alcohol throughout the state.

In fiscal year 2019, ABC delivered more than 3.380 million cases of liquor and wine. In 2020 it rose to over 3.742 million.

Fiscal year 2021 more than 4.1 million cases were distributed.

“A lot of that had to do with the fact that when the pandemic first started no one could go out to restaurants or bars,” said MS Department of Revenue Communications Specialist Jacob Manley. “So they had to order all of their liquor to their homes or go pick it up.”

Alcohol consumption could be surprising to some with the number of Mississippi counties that prohibit alcohol sales. Thirty-four of the state’s 82 counties are dry for hard liquor. Thirty-six are dry for beer and light wine sales.

“A lot of those dry counties, people still have to go out of their way. They’ll go to another county and buy it,” said Manley. “So it’s not like those counties aren’t drinking at all. So I think that has a big part of it, and I think it’s been just a nervous time for everybody this past year and a half.”

Calistoga Wine and Spirits owner Sean Summers said during the pandemic his sales increased 30 percent. But business is now back to normal.

Despite the lessened demand, he is experiencing a two week delay in deliveries from ABC. Many retailer liquor stores are still seeing delays in their shipments.

Officials say ABC has vacancies at the Gluckstadt warehouse and is hiring to fill various positions.

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