Understanding the COVID-19 pandemic's effect on alcohol sales and consumption is critical in mitigating alcohol abuse and morbidity. We sought to determine how the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic and changes in viral incidence affected alcohol sales and consumption in the United States. We conducted a retrospective observational analysis regressing National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) alcohol sales data and Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) survey data for 14 states for 2017 to 2020 with COVID-19 incidence in 2020 in the United States. The onset of the pandemic was associated with higher monthly alcohol sales per capita of 1.99 standard drinks (95% Confidence Interval: 0.63 to 3.34, p=0.007). Increases of one COVID-19 case per 100 were associated with lower monthly alcohol sales per capita of 2.98 standard drinks (95% CI: -4.47 to -1.48, p=0.001) as well as broad decreases in alcohol consumption, notably 0.17 fewer days per month with alcohol use (95% CI: -0.31 to -0.23, p=0.008) and 0.14 fewer days per month of binge drinking (95% CI: -0.23 to -0.052, p<0.001). The COVID-19 pandemic is associated with increased monthly average alcohol purchases, but higher viral incidence is linked to lower alcohol purchases and consumption. Continued monitoring is needed to mitigate the effects of higher population alcohol use during the pandemic.
View details for DOI 10.1016/j.alcohol.2023.05.003
View details for PubMedID 37230334