“Not all girls are made of sugar and spice and everything nice. Some girls are made of sarcasm, wine, and everything fine.”Anonymous
I get frequently asked what I think the future of the drink industry will be after the alcohol ban and lockdown.
I’ve always been hesitant to answer the question… I’m not one to pretend to be some sort of futurist – the same way I’m not pretending to be some official who didn’t intend to sack a hospital chief after questioning VIP testing… but I can use some history to make a few assumptions.
Mind you, they’re assumptions, not guesses that I’m trying (or blindly forcing to suit my needs, or the needs of a head of a nation I’m trolling for) to pass off as facts.
Now let me sit back and give you the tea… Courtesy of this Taiwanese tea I got gifted with a few moons back:
By the way, for the geographically challenged, this is Taiwan:
Everything I highlighted in a lovely shade of coral red (same as the summery lipstick I can’t use because of the lockdown/face mask situation) is NOT Taiwan:
Just like The Philippines, Scarborough Shoal, Spratly Islands, and the West Philippine Sea are… not “Taiwan”, okay?
Anyway, I’m losing focus… I feel like I’m one of those people being distracted by the many issues created these days to set up certain political “heroes” to “save” the day.
History. Just like never forgetting the events of 1972 which led to human rights violations, curtailing press freedom, cruel leaderships and dictatorships… it’s actually a pretty good learning experience to look back at historical consumer behavior during a crisis.
According to studies* (and I’m citing a few here, because I don’t intend on sounding like a one sided, poorly-researched, obsolete, unfounded interview of some ancient relic that justifies bullying at the cost of freedom), here’s how consumers did – and would probably – behave**:
- In places where there’s no alcohol ban, naturally, there was a rise in alcohol consumption in off-trade (read: supermarkets, wine shops, or anything that doesn’t require a waiter/bartender/wine server to fix a drink). Since parts of the country were hit with an alcohol ban, well… Would the alcohol industry have made a significant economic contribution?
Well, we’ll never know now.
- Those who typically don’t spend that much money (for financial reasons) on alcohol would likely downsize. They’d purchase cheaper alcohol, purchase less, or cut back on alcohol consumption altogether… for a while at least.
Or maybe they won’t… People who fit the profile are the same people who really got hit by this lockdown in terms of livelihood. Also, how can they buy their booze…? Didn’t someone tell these “m*therf*ck*rs (to) stay at home”?
- Then, there are the mid-tier consumers. For those who think this technical-sounding term is a hoax – just like how the term “essential” in “essential worker” is some part of conspiracy theory the government has cooked up – I’m using this term to define people who don’t spend a huge chunk of their salaries on alcohol (but could if they wanted to – with minimal sacrifices). They’d typically prefer to purchase wine bottles at the PHP1,500 peso mark, and wouldn’t buy over a case in a month.
Anyway, these people would likely, after the liquor ban is lifted, increase their purchase with the intent of replenishing their stock. Either that or – after the great toilet paper and ethyl alcohol hoarding nightmare of 2020 – they’d make sure they have enough ready for a (heaven forbid) possible second lockdown. After all, previous flu outbreaks (again, history: not a hoax!) warn of a second wave, and they’d be damned if they’re stone cold sober while listening to yet another late night political
- The more premium consumers would likely not change their drinking habits. Just like how people in certain countries thrive on knowing the right people to possibly get you out of violating the lockdown (even getting away scot free after going to a hospital or a supermarket because you simply want to; or even address a crowd because… Oh, heaven only knows why; or celebrate your birthday because your authority makes you think you can), there are ways of getting your drink fix despite the alcohol ban. That, or you’ve already got a ton in stock.
I’m the latter (I haven’t been outside our front yard since 17 March… No lockdown violations here!).Doing what I do comes with its perks, which means… I’ve still got more than enough booze to tide me over. It’s been keeping me calm despite the news… News that I should be grateful for, right? After all, I get to stay home because politicians, as they say, are the superhero frontliners (exactly like the hospital staff from all over the world that are dying just to save people’s lives) that they say they are, going to work so I can stay at home.
Do I think there’d be a repeat of this? If seeing how the some people are still scoring alcohol while our blue-collar staff is swearing it off for a while is any indicator, then… In the immortal lyrics of Shirley Bassey, I see “a little bit of history repeating.” Just like me feeling like I keep waking up to 1972.
There’d likely be a huge change in the how people would consume their alcohol. There is a lot of fear associated with going out – we’re not sure if a uniformed personnel or COVID would kill us first. Kidding aside, the science behind the ability of the virus to spread and kill is not “fear mongering.” It’s not fake news being fed to us by the media, like how the alleged lack of PPEs was supposedly fake news.
That said, people would likely patronise online retailers… Then drink from home. A better use of our bandwidth, perhaps? Imagine: If we didn’t stream shows and purchased alcohol online instead, the need to require telcos to address the country’s horrible bandwidth or get rid of non-taxpaying, borderline criminal foreign entities that rely on keeping their businesses online would be put in the back-burner. Everybody happy!
Seriously, there’s a myriad of different online retailers that have a great selection of booze and I might do an article on my personal choices from different online booze retailers – if my site doesn’t get banned for having an opinion.
Yes, the alcohol industry took a huge hit, but I think a rise in sustainable, home consumption is imminent. I’m glad to see a lot of online tutorials on wine, spirits, and mixology, but a lot of the stuff I see caters to people like me: People who already know their way around a cocktail shaker and have materials, ingredients, and space ready. There’s a bigger audience out there that couldn’t tell vodka from gin, live in tiny flats (that may or may not give because of inferior construction quality but get away with permits and barely a lawsuit)… So the mere idea of making a fancy cocktail is not feasible for them. Heck, even I find it too involved to go beyond eyeballing gin on a mountain of ice and topping it with the first ice cold tonic water I could find from the fridge… but that’s because I hardly have the time.
So, just like the way I want to see realistic economic, livelihood, health, and transportation plans, I hope to see more easy-peasy booze videos.
Friends who work for alcohol importation companies have expressed their concerns on the effects of the liquor ban… After all, their businesses really took a hit. I really think, however, that when the ban gets lifted, people would order in cases (I know I will… God I need to restock my wine) because… People really just miss it. It’s in our collective consciousness… Just like the tireless frontliners that, on top of working while severely lacking in support (masks please) were overlooked in favour of preferring foreign entities robbing us of our resources, territorial and financial.
Note: Racism is bad, just like how treating people in a country that doesn’t belong to you like sh*t (again, refer to the “not Taiwan” map). Like, wow Philippines. C’mon.
Unfortunately, one sector of business that will remain closed after the ECQ includes “bars and pubs.” While my DLSU mestizo friends would probably be thanking their lucky stars to have an excuse not to go to a bar and worry about whether a 70+ year old gentleman beside them is checking their junk out, it will highly affect the livelihood of many people in the industry.
These are talented, hardworking, brilliant individuals who usually work quietly but effectively, resourcefully, and efficiently mix killer cocktails from memory, too.
Then again, there seems to be a trend in vilifying these kinds of workers – from all levels and across all industries.
I am a huge fan of Monty Python. One of their shticks involves not bothering to end a skit (or heck, Holy Grail) and audiences are left to both accept that as a fact and part of the comedy. On that note, in the spirit of rapidly changing events (and the Pythons!), I will leave this without an ending.
For those who didn’t get it, today’s entry was partly done in jest and in a very sarcastic tone (sometimes sarcasm doesn’t translate in writing, which is why I’m clarifying it here)… I know a few people who do not appreciate (or understand) sarcasm, but as the French literary theorist Roland Barthes said, “What I claim is to live to the full contradiction of my time, which may well make sarcasm the condition of truth.” Other people who are used to reading more positive articles from the site may find today’s entry off-putting… but as my sister says, there’s such a thing as toxic positivity.
Stay safe… and remember, the E in ECQ stands for Enhanced, not Exempt. As in, nobody’s exempt from the Community Quarantine. 😉
**I purposefully didn’t include the health effects because of the rise of alcohol consumption in the main article… but like I said in my previous article, as a person with anxiety and depression, I find that it’s best to stay away from booze on bad days.