Alcohol purchasing limits tightened as sales soar

First, there was a rush to buy toilet paper and pantry essentials such as rice, flour and pasta. Then panicked shoppers moved on to seedlings and edible plants, again resulting in purchasing limits being put in place. Now, limits on alcohol purchases have been tightened as bottle shops and big retail outlets report an 86 per cent jump in sales.

The restrictions limit purchases to two cases of beer, cider or pre-mix drinks, 12 bottles of wine, two casks of wine (10 litres in total) and two bottles of spirits (two litres in total) – but you may only purchase from two categories.

The limits apply in most states for liquor stores including Dan Murphy’s, BWS, Aldi, Coles Liquor and Independent Brands, owner of The Bottle-O and IGA Liquor.

The changes are a voluntary initiative put in place by national industry body Retail Drinks Australia.

Retail Drinks CEO Julie Ryan said in a statement that the decision was sparked by government concerns that panic buying could lead to similar shortages faced by the leading supermarkets.

She stressed, however, that there were no supply issues at breweries, wineries and distilleries.

“It was clear that uncertainty on the impact of supply following the closure of pubs, clubs and restaurants last week caused some people to purchase differently,” Ms Ryan said.

“We want to now send a clear message that bottle shops remain an essential service and there are no issues of supply. These temporary measures will ensure all consumers can continue to access their favourite drinks when they decide to make a purchase.”

Research from Commonwealth Bank and reported by Business Insider found spending on alcohol had increased 34 per cent compared to a year ago. Spending on alcohol from bottle shops was up 86 per cent compared to the same week last year.

Meanwhile, alcohol delivery service Jimmy Brings has reported its service has grown 23 per cent compared to the same time last year.

Jimmy Brings said it had also seen a rise in sales of extras such as condoms (29 per cent increase) and Panadol or Nurofen (34 per cent increase).

Plus, customers are ordering alcohol much earlier in the day.

“Our peak is now 5pm rather than 9pm with more people enjoying digital knock-off drinks together,” said Jimmy Brings marketing manager Angelina Nguyen.

“We are actively looking to hire new drivers every day. In the last 30 days, we’ve had an 800 per cent increase in job applications compared to the previous 30 days.”

Fellow alcohol delivery service Tipple has also reported a jump in orders through its platform and is also looking for more drivers to assist with the increased demand.

Have you stocked up on alcohol? Do you use a delivery service?

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Written by Janelle Ward

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