Alcohol home deliveries boom amid social restrictions
The nation is hibernating in typical Australian style by enjoying a tipple, or maybe even two.
The home delivery of alcohol has skyrocketed 300 per cent during the coronavirus isolation period, as pubs and clubs are forced into shutdown.
Delivery service Jimmy Brings is among those who have experienced a huge spike in sales since people were ordered to stay inside.
"We have definitely seen an increase in demand over the last few weeks. Our (new) customers have grown by 23 per cent in comparison to the same time last month," a company spokeswoman said.
"There's also been a huge year on year increase in order volume with a 152 per cent increase compared to the same time last year."
Retailers BWS and Dan Murphy's have also reported a surge in demand for delivery.
Social researcher Mark McCrindle said the "bunker mentality" of social isolation meant more people would be drinking alone without their normal social obligations.
But he said videoconferencing could remedy the loneliness.
"There's something about that face-to-face interaction - you have to show up and participate - which keeps us all honest," Mr McCrindle said.
National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre director Professor Michael Farrell said alcohol delivery services might be a good idea to encourage social distancing but they could also encourage consumption.
"As well as stress and anxiety, people don't have the normal constraints of going to work and maintaining a routine," Prof Farrell said.
"People use alcohol to reduce stress, but heavy drinking is more likely to make anxiety worse rather than better."
Retail Drinks Australia chief executive Julie Ryan said consumers were buying more online - partly because they could not drink in the pub - but were purchasing less frequently.
But Ms Ryan said it did not necessarily mean Australians were drinking more.
"The amount that someone purchases is wholly unrelated to how much they are consuming," Ms Ryan said.
"The whole nature of takeaway alcohol is to buy it, store it and drink it over a period of time."
Ms Ryan said apps like Sherpa and Drive Yellow - whose drivers had responsible service of alcohol training - were quickly being enlisted by small liquor chains and independents.
"A lot of stores are trying to start an online business to keep their share of the market," Ms Ryan said.
Ms Ryan said one national retailer told her their deliveries were up 300 per cent from December to March while the size of the average order had increased by 50 per cent.
Tamarama food photographer Lisa Clark said she used a group called NotWasted which paired wines with suggested meals.
"It's that feeling of enjoying going out and trying new things - bringing that feeling home," Ms Clark said.
"And it's just the convenience factor of it really."
Originally published as Alcohol home deliveries boom amid social restrictions