How the Coronavirus Impacts What and How We Drink

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Among the many businesses that have been devastated by the advent of the coronavirus, one of the hardest hit has been the hospitality industry — hotels, restaurants, bars, and the like. The outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas has reported that more than 14.4 million Americans employed in these businesses are at risk of losing their jobs, either temporarily or permanently. That’s just a small part of how the coronavirus will harm the GDP and businesses in 2020.

U.S. restaurant companies and advocacy groups have asked the federal government for as much as $455 billion in aid to help get them through the worst weeks or months of the pandemic. This will help bartenders and other bar employees as well as food-service personnel, and organizations like the United States Bartenders’ Guild are raising money to help those who serve us our drinks.

Meanwhile, four organizations representing the liquor business, including the industry-wide Distilled Spirits Council, are seeking an aid package, including tax relief and no- or low-interest loans, from Congress to aid distilleries and those in the supply chain (like farmers, bottle manufacturers, truckers, etc.) whose livelihoods are imperiled.

Consumers of wine, beer, and/or spirits are affected in various ways by all the recent changes in the way their favorite beverages are produced, promoted, and sold. In some cases — and places — it has become harder to buy alcohol (and almost impossible to enjoy it in a communal setting). In some ways, at the same time, it’s more accessible than it used to be — through delivery with food orders, for instance. (Surprisingly, wine and beer and well as food is also available from some fancy restaurants that are offering takeout and delivery during the crisis.)

 

24/7 Tempo has consulted numerous wine, beer, and spirits trade publications and newsletters as well as general news sources to discover many of the ways in which responses to the coronavirus have (or might have) and effect on what and how we drink, either directly or by affecting those who produce or serve it.