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Oregon liquor stores sold at 'record level' in March, OLCC says

Liquor stores under the OLCC sold almost 20 percent more this March than during the same period last year.

Posted: Apr 14, 2020 5:46 PM
Updated: Apr 14, 2020 5:49 PM

PORTLAND, Ore. — With restaurants and bars shuttered to patrons looking to have a drink in a social setting, Oregonians appear to have turned to their local liquor stores to make up for it home. According to the Oregon Liquor Control Commission, sales at liquor stores reached record levels in March as the COVID-19 outbreak progressed.

OLCC liquor stores sold almost $66 million in distilled spirits during March, the agency said — a nearly 20 percent increase over March for 2019, and the highest of any March on record. Still, December of 2019 hold the all-time sales record of $75.85 million.

"The upsurge in sales from agent-operated liquor stores is attributed to changes in consumer behavior due to the Covid-19 pandemic," the OLCC said. "Specifically, liquor consumption has shifted from sit-down bars and restaurants to consumers purchasing distilled spirits by-the-bottle for at home consumption."


RELATED: Oregon officials suspend Cave Junction bar's liquor license, alleging it defied COVID-19 restrictions


In March of 2020, sales from businesses with an on-premises liquor license dropped to $6.4 million — less than half of the year before. Meanwhile, consumer liquor sales from other sources went up from $41.2 million last year to $59.5 million last month.

“These numbers may be alarming to those concerned about alcohol dependency, but it reflects the shift in consumption, not an increase in consumption,” said Steve Marks, OLCC Executive Director.

OLCC said that its been issuing refunds to bars and restaurants for returned liquor to the tune of $500,000.


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The OLCC said that its been shipping more liquor, too — with a 32 percent increase in bottles shipped over March last year. The biggest part of those shipments happened over the space of just two days. March 18 and 19 became the biggest shipping days in OLCC history, the agency said, but shipments have since gone back to more normal levels.

“We appreciate our warehouse employees and liquor store agents across the state for being nimble enough to adapt to the new business model imposed by the Covid-19 pandemic,” said Marks. “Despite operating with less staff, and being open shorter hours, the combined efforts of liquor store agents are continuing to provide service while also generating an important source of revenue for the state during a time of limited economic activity.”

Oregon Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 19366

Reported Deaths: 328
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Multnomah449793
Washington284923
Marion269268
Umatilla206024
Clackamas142136
Malheur67610
Deschutes5408
Lane5233
Lincoln3959
Jackson3941
Union3882
Yamhill38611
Jefferson3113
Morrow3051
Polk29612
Linn25410
Klamath1961
Wasco1703
Hood River1690
Benton1576
Douglas1341
Josephine1071
Coos850
Clatsop820
Columbia790
Crook431
Baker330
Lake320
Tillamook300
Wallowa191
Sherman150
Curry140
Harney80
Gilliam40
Grant20
Unassigned00
Wheeler00

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Reported Deaths: 9441
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San Bernardino33432418
San Diego29883565
Kern20651144
Fresno15083138
San Joaquin11885180
Alameda11524189
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Sacramento10122145
Tulare9745189
Imperial9448222
Stanislaus9221112
Contra Costa8033127
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San Francisco691661
Santa Barbara616760
San Mateo5683119
Marin509270
Monterey492430
Kings445356
Merced428550
Solano361137
Sonoma311339
Madera194330
Placer192516
San Luis Obispo190216
Yolo157242
Santa Cruz11524
Butte9417
Napa8888
Sutter7976
San Benito6474
El Dorado6371
Lassen6260
Yuba5024
Shasta3909
Glenn3321
Colusa3314
Mendocino3229
Nevada2991
Tehama2341
Humboldt2334
Lake2081
Mono1451
Tuolumne1412
Amador1260
Calaveras1251
Del Norte880
Siskiyou730
Inyo611
Mariposa572
Plumas330
Trinity50
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Modoc20
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