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Businesses that sell booze are winning election week

Customers shopped at Bauer Wines on Friday.
Customers shopped at Bauer Wines on Friday.David L. Ryan/Globe Staff

As the city spent all week glued to computer and television screens, obsessively refreshing election results and watching analysts play with interactive maps, orders for alcohol poured in from around the region.

Sales at Bauer Wine & Spirits on Newbury Street doubled this week compared to the same period last year, according to the store’s general manager, Howie Rubin, 65. He has been working at the wine shop for 40 years, so he knows all about Election Day surges, but this year, he said it was a week-long ordeal.

“People were stocking up because they knew they would be watching election results all week,” he said. “I think people wanted to deal with the stress by having a cocktail or glass of wine.”

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The Wakefield resident said he thinks more people drank booze at home this election season compared to four years ago, in part because of the pandemic and restrictions on eating out or getting together in groups.

“In 2016, people were going out, going to bars, socializing with their friends,” he said. “Usually people watch election results like the Oscars... This year, everybody is kind of isolated, watching with their immediate family.”

General Manager Howie Rubin has been working at Bauer Wine & Spirits for 40 years.
General Manager Howie Rubin has been working at Bauer Wine & Spirits for 40 years.David L. Ryan/Globe Staff

Everett-based Night Shift Brewing said election week brought it more retail beer sales than any other week over the last month.

“We’d guess people were buying in preparation to watch the elections play out,” co-founder Michael Oxton wrote in an e-mail. “And they certainly needed to stock up for more than one night.”

GoPuff, a home delivery service that stocks snacks, booze, and grocery items in its own facilities, said sales in the Boston area rose 25 percent Tuesday night compared to the previous week. Most orders were placed between 8 and 10 p.m. as customers tuned in to election coverage, a spokesperson for the company said.

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The company noted that of those orders, white wine sales jumped 138 percent, and both red wine and domestic beer sales spiked 92 percent. Perhaps expecting a final result to be called, customers nationwide searched for “champagne” on the company’s app by a factor of 20 times more than they did the week prior.

GoPuff operates five warehouse-like facilities in the Boston area, and one in Worcester. Customers place orders through an app, and then the Philadelphia-based company’s fleet of drivers deliver them by car, usually in around 30 minutes.

A similar service, alcohol delivery platform Drizly, also reported an Election Night pop. The Boston-based company said sales locally were 83 percent higher compared to the average of the previous four Tuesdays.

Drizly also said sales in Washington, D.C. increased by 133 percent, and in New York City, they were up 110 percent. Overall, Drizly said the surge was on par with what the company saw during the presidential election in 2016, with company-wide sales up nearly 70 percent.

Rubin noted that although sales were up all week at Bauer Wine, after Election Day on Tuesday, customers tended to order for home delivery instead of shopping in-store.

“I think in Boston people were a little wary of civil unrest.... If you look down my block on Newbury, most of the street is boarded up,” he said. “Everyone was a bit nervous, walking around on eggshells waiting for the final results.”

At Gary’s Liquors in Chestnut Hill, owner Gary Park said things have been quiet in-store since Tuesday, too.

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“It is like waiting to get results back from a test, everyone is nervous,” he said. “No one is celebrating or trying to drown their sorrows yet.”


Anissa Gardizy can be reached at anissa.gardizy@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @anissagardizy8.