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The hospitality industry faced tremendous casualties when the global pandemic struck. Tens of thousands of bars and restaurants were forced to close. Many have not survived. Businesses that have endured these tough times struggle with additional, ongoing constraints and burdensome regulations.

However, the limited availability of establishments to serve beer, wine, and distilled spirits did not dissuade the consumption of alcoholic beverages. Almost all states relaxed their alcohol laws to permit local deliveries to help support the economy. Liquor stores, pharmacies, and other retail outlets that sold beer and wine were deemed in all but three states as “essential services.”

According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, alcohol consumption jumped 54% in the first few weeks of the lockdown over the previous year. While leveling out over 2020, the figure remained 14% above the pre-COVID year. The Wine Industry Network, a retail trade organization, also noted a change in consumer purchasing patterns. The industry reported an explosion in online purchases, where permitted, with younger wine drinkers leading the surge. Regardless of the increase in sales, the review also found consumers were paying less per bottle of wine; instead of purchasing pricier types, they decided to buy more familiar, mainstream trusted brands.

The behavior of consumers consuming wine will be underscored in this Sunday’s Gospel message. The popular Wedding of Cana story will remind us how the chief steward questions why the best wine was saved for last. Will you join us for worship this Sunday, January 16 for our 9:00 AM spoken half-hour liturgy or our traditional 10:00 AM liturgy? Please be with us as we raise our glasses to Jesus!