Community

Town’s alcohol sales up, but is that bad?

Photo by Clint Parker

Woodfin – During the May monthly meeting of the Woodfin Board of Town Commissioners, the members head a report for the ABC Board that alcohol sales were up over the same period last year. Not just a little, but a lot.

The board reported to the commissioners that during the month of April of this year, sales were $236,359 compared to only $150,010 during the same period for 2019. That’s nearly a 60% increase and while some of it may be attributed to growth, the Woodfin ABC Board attributed the jump to the pandemic. The increase translated to a profit of $57,358 over the $36,950 of 2019.

In it’s report to the town commissioner board, the ABC board states in its budget message that the increase is “temporary” during the pandemic and that the upcoming year’s budget should be based on last year’s numbers.

Is Woodfin increase sales an anomaly? Not according to an April 30th article by Forbes that said, “According to market research firm Nielsen, total off-premise alcohol sales during the seven-week period ending April 18th were up 24.4%. Wine and spirits appear to have benefited the most from widespread stay-at-home orders — those categories were up 29.4% and 32.7%, respectively — while off-premise beer sales were up 11.8%.”

Increase alcohol consumption is sometimes attributed to depression, which can lead to suicide and there’s a lot of information out there suggesting that many people are extremely depressed over the current pandemic and its economic effects. A May 19th article by the NY Times by Benedict Carey in which Carey interview a North Carolina man who says he’s had increase thoughts of suicide. 

“That’s how I am,” said Josh (no last name given), 35, a college instructor in North Carolina who has been consumed in the past with thoughts of suicide. “I see all the bad, the suffering, and I have a tendency to crawl into a hole. Now, with this COVID threat, we’re being told to isolate and stay away from others. It’s like, ‘Oh, I was right all along, and the world was crazy.’”

The article cites a study published in February of this year in the International Journal of Social Psychiatry, which found when tied with economic crises, that there was an increase in suicide. Specifically,  “The short-term and long-term relationships obtained within the scope of the study indicated that the 2008 economic crisis had a statistically significant effect on suicide cases in the United States.” The study concluded, “It can be said that the results of this study are consistent with the information which emphasizes that economic crises increase
suicide cases…”