Wine & Spirits

No Ouzo? Bars Closed by COVID-19, Greeks Turn to Rum, Whiskey, Beer

ATHENS – Eschewing traditional favorites such as ouzo, raki and tsipouro – while still hitting them in quantity – Greeks have also spiked sales of rum, wine, whiskey and beer as the COVID-19 pandemic has lingered.

Those liquors saw the biggest rise in sales in supermarkets in the first quarter of 2021, driven also by bars being closed more than five months in the current pseudo-lockdown that has eased but not letting them open yet.

It was a bonanza though for liquor stores where you could see people queuing outside, waiting their turn to make purchases, and as Irish whiskey and American bourbon particularly are growing fast in popularity worldwide.

The research firm Nielsen said that supermarket sales for rum jumped 67.7 percent, 49.1 percent for wine, 43.6 percent for whiskey and 27.3 percent even for beer, not a winter favorite usually for many.

When they weren’t drinking, Greeks favored other products during the pandemic, sales of hair-removal products and dyes rising 25.1 percent and 22 percent while beauty salons alternated between being opened or closed.

With restaurants limited to take-out and delivery, Greeks were cooking so much more at home that oven cleaner sales went up 47.5 percent and 28.4 percent for baking paper, although you can clean ovens with baking soda and white vinegar.

Supermarkets with spaces more than 100 square meters (1076 square feet) had a 1.9 percent increase in sales in the first quarter compared to 2020, driven by personal card products at 8.9 percent, 7.4 percent for household goods and 4.2 percent for food and beverages the survey found, said Kathimerini.


As a sommelier, Evan Turner knows Greek wine and he wants everyone else to know about it too, and he's using his key position at Krasi (Greek word for wine) Meze and Wine in Boston to make sure.

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