Allen's Coffee Flavored Brandy, Fireball Whisky, and Tito's Handmade Vodka all have been vying in recent years to be the most popular brand of liquor in the state of Maine Credit: Bill Trotter

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Sales of hard liquor in Maine have shot up by more than 15 percent since measures aimed at preventing the spread of the new coronavirus began forcing many Mainers to stay at home.

Distributors of whiskey, vodka, brandy and other spirits in Maine sold roughly 13,000 more cases in March and most of April, and netted roughly $2 million more in sales for each month than they did in the same time period in 2019, according to statistics released by the Maine Department of Administrative and Financial Services.

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Overall, sales for March were up by more than 14 percent in volume for the same month last year, and increased by more than 15 percent in revenue. For April, both sales volume and revenue increased by more than 17 percent over 2019 totals for the month.

And those figures only represent weekly sales data through April 24, so Maine sales totals for the month are certain to be higher, according to Kyle Hadyniak, spokesperson for the state agency that released the figures.

The increase in liquor sales in Maine are consistent with a nationwide trend that saw a 55 percent spike in hard alcohol sales in one week in March following broad government shutdowns across the country, according to Newsweek.

Hadyniak said Friday that sales of liquor in Maine started rising in February, before schools and many businesses shut down and Mainers were ordered to stay at home in order to slow the spread of the disease. Liquor sales in Maine were up by 4,200 cases that month from February 2019, while statewide sales revenues jumped by $1 million.

Hadyniak said that the usual top-sellers in Maine — Tito’s Handmade Vodka, Fireball Whisky and Allen’s Coffee Flavored Brandy — are among the brands that have sold the most over the past couple of months. He said the sales data suggest that Mainers might be buying larger bottles of their go-to brands rather than smaller, pocket-sized “nips” they can buy at convenience stores.

“They wanted to stock up on their favorites,” he said.

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Bill Trotter

A news reporter in coastal Maine for more than 20 years, Bill Trotter writes about how the Atlantic Ocean and the state's iconic coastline help to shape the lives of coastal Maine residents and visitors....