Experts say there have been changes in drinking habits following the pandemic

Published: Oct. 14, 2022 at 11:14 PM CDT
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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) - Experts said drinking habits have changed since the pandemic; that was one reason we’re told Iowans are buying more alcohol. 97-million gallons of beer were sold last fiscal year.

That increase in beer purchases comes to about 30.2 gallons of beer for every single person in the state of Iowa. That includes all Iowans, not just the adults who are old enough to buy beer.

“I drink to be among friends, and I had a friend over and bring some beer over when we were in lockdown,” said Sharon McMulin of Cedar Rapids.

When bar doors opened back up after the pandemic, a University of Iowa researcher said not only did drinking habits start to change, but so did the way people could get their hands on a drink.

“We’re now allowing home delivery, curbside pickup, and cocktails to go,” said Doctor Paul Gilbert. “Those weren’t allowed before the pandemic.”

Dr. Gilbert specializes in alcohol use and behaviors. He said the number of adults buying drinks was up, but the number of agents in Iowa who check on bar compliance was lower than in many other states.

“We have among the lowest ratio in the whole US,” he said. “That’s the fewest number of compliance agents to alcohol outlets.”

Gilbert said it wasn’t young drinkers behind all the change. He said the trend was more middle age and older people making the purchase. He said to change the trend, Iowa needs to change its ‘pro-drinking mentality’ and focus on policy.