Alcohol sales spike in Ohio; COVID-19 pandemic changes consumer trend

More than 16 million gallons of alcohol were sold in Ohio in 2020.

It’s a year that saw a shift in how people in the Buckeye State bought their booze.

“Our data indicates sales shifted significantly from wholesale (bars/restaurants) to retail (private consumers) in 2020,” said Lindsey LeBerth, spokeswoman for the state’s division of liquor control. “While there was a spike in sales, that does not equate to a spike in consumption.”

In 2020, Ohioans bought 16.75 million gallons of alcohol. That is up from 15.25 million gallons in 2019 and 14.66 million gallons in 2018, according to state data.

The shift in sales could be contributed to the restrictions that were put in place in mid-March when the Ohio Health Director issued an order that limited food and alcohol sales to take-out only. The order was in place for about two months, before the restrictions were partially lifted.

Last year in Ohio, more than $1.5 billion was spent on liquor in the state.