MEDIA RELEASE 24th March 2020

The New Zealand Alcohol Beverages Council (NZABC) is calling for calm as bottle stores continue to be subjected to massive panic buying.

“We understand that consumers want to ensure they have stocks in hand for the four week isolation period, but a rush on product is not going to help anyone,” said NZABC Executive Director, Bridget MacDonald.

“We are currently in discussion with government about whether bottle stores will stay open or not and the status of online sales and home delivery.

“Government is aware that spirits and spirit-based beverages are not available in supermarkets, so we are hopeful that we will have a viable way of selling these products in lockdown. Our preference of course is for bottle stores to remain open,” Bridget said.

One bottle store chain has reported an 1800% spike in sales yesterday and were bracing themselves for another rush today.

“We are also mindful that our own homegrown spirits industry of about 100 distilleries need a way to continue to get their product to the consumer. If we can’t agree on how to do this then it is likely that many will go out of business.”

Bridget says shutting bottle stores will also put more pressure on supermarkets, make the stores themselves targets for theft as spirits become a sought after black market item, and will adversely impact the New Zealand distilling industry.