Coronavirus: Bottle shop limits come into effect to prevent panic buying

Owner of Farrah's Liquor Collective, Matthew Farrah says he's seen a boost in business from people stockpiling on alcohol. Picture: Jamila Toderas
Owner of Farrah's Liquor Collective, Matthew Farrah says he's seen a boost in business from people stockpiling on alcohol. Picture: Jamila Toderas

Those looking to stock up on alcohol for self-isolation will be hit with limits at most bottle shops across the country, as retailers aim to prevent panic buying.

Industry body Retail Drinks Australia said it was voluntarily implementing product limits to stop interruptions to supply chains.

Customers will be limited to two cases of beer, two cases of cider or pre-mix spirits, 12 bottles of wine, two casks of cask wine not exceeding 10 litres in total and two bottles of spirit not exceeding two litres in total.

The restrictions will be rolled out in Dan Murphy's, BWS, Liquorland, Vintage Cellars, First Choice stores and Aldi supermarkets, along with selected Liquor Legends, Urban Cellars and Liquor Stax outlets.

The limits will also apply to online retailers associated with outlets participating.

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Retail Drinks Australia chief executive Julie Ryan said the measures aimed to stop levels of panic buying and empty shelves seen in supermarkets across the country.

"We know that consumers like to feel certainty of supply in times of crisis, and our members want to do their part to encourage people continuing to purchase alcohol responsibly as they normally would," she said.

"We want to now send a clear message bottle shops remain an essential service and there are no issues of supply.

"These temporary measures will ensure that all consumers can continue to access their favourite drinks when they decide to make a purchase."

The measures come as Canberra bottle shops have seen a spike in sales as people prepare to spend more time at home due to self-isolation.

Owner of Farrah's Liquor Collective in Fyshwick, Matthew Farrah, said he had noticed an increase in customers in recent weeks, but hadn't noticed large scale shelf clearing.

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His bottle shop won't be implementing the product limits seen in other outlets, and said there hadn't been issues with supply.

"People are social isolating a lot more and they've been stocking up but it's back to business as normal," he said.

"You can only stock so much. People need their alcohol, but I'm not seeing that sort of panic buying."

With many breweries and winemakers unable to sell stock to restaurants and pubs due to coronavirus restrictions, Mr Farrah said many suppliers were selling more to bottle shops.

"We've been trying to contact the breweries to say how can we help," he said.

"There hasn't been a shortage and we're not seeing it in the supply chain."

While people are staying indoors more, Mr Farrah said online sales at his bottle shop had been booming since it launched only a few weeks ago before most of the coronavirus restrictions came into effect.

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This story Bottle shop limits come into effect to prevent panic buying first appeared on The Canberra Times.