You could be enjoying a better meal by pairing the right beer with the right food. This is your guide to matching food with the perfect brew. USA TODAY


Just because much of the nation has been under stay-at-真人百家家乐官网网站home orders doesn't mean we don't want to crack a cold one at the end of the day, or maybe even earlier.

Favorite drinking establishments have been forced to close during the coronavirus pandemic – or pivot to curbside pickup and delivery. So, many consumers have opted to buy mega-packs of beer – or hard seltzer.

The number of people buying alcohol to take 真人百家家乐官网网站home rose 27% during the week ending April 11, compared to a year ago, Nielsen says.

Also driving swig-from-真人百家家乐官网网站home sales: online purchases. During the two-week period ending, April 18, three times as many bought alcohol online than in the two weeks ending Feb. 29, Nielsen says.

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Beer sales are up 16%, based on dollar value, so far this year up to May 10, according to Bump Williams Consulting of Shelton, Connecticut., which services the beverage alcohol industry and uses sales data from Chicago-based market research firm IRI.

"Weekly trends for beer continue to display tremendous growth," said Williams, noting that for the week ending May 10, sales were stronger than average. That suggests the Memorial Day weekend could yield "a massive week of off-premise sales," he said.

The big winners: Big beer brands such as Busch Light, Corona, Michelob Ultra, Miller Light and Coors Light. Also tracking more than 10% ahead of last year's sales are Mexican lagers Modelo Especial and Dos Equis Especial, and Blue Moon Belgian White Ale. 

Amid all the "societal uncertainty," said Budweiser vice president Monica Rustgi, "we’ve noticed consumers gravitating to larger brands with consistent quality credentials that they know and trust.” 

Consumers are buying in bulk, with sales of cases of beer on the rise. Sales of 24-can cases of Michelob Ultra are up 59% so far this year, while sales of Miller Lite cases are up 26.5%. Sales of 30-packs of Busch Light are up 31%, while Coors Light and Bud Light 30-packs are up 31% and 24%, respectively.

"We believe some of that is people were going out less so they were getting more in less frequent trips, opting for 24, 30 and 36-packs of big trusted brands," said Adam Collins, chief communications officer for Molson Coors. "We have seen a lot of that movement particularly in Miller Lite, Coors Light and Blue Moon."

The beer crush is similar to the "panic pantry buying" seen in March at the outset of the coronavirus outbreak. But many experts thought the beer run would slow down in late April and early May, says Eric Shepard, executive editor of Beer Marketer's Insights. "It did not. Indeed, there was a big pop in the week run-up to Cinco do Mayo," he said. "Virtually every major brewer and big brand has benefited."

Brewers traditionally generate just more than half of beer revenue at bars and restaurants. They sell more beer in stores, but remember, that individual can, bottle or draft can cost $4 or more in a bar or restaurant, while when you buy in bulk it costs 72 cents to $1.30) That's why the shutdown has disproportionately hurt smaller, local breweries that rely on visitors coming into a taproom or brewpub.

The current beer brew-haha would need to continue for most of the year and be greater than 20% clip to offset the loss of on-premise sales, says Carolyn Lemoine, director of alcohol research for Beverage Marketing Corp., a New York City-based research and consulting firm. "Ultimately, dollar sales for the category are likely to be down when the crisis is over, as consumers spend less on beer in the off-premise than they do in the on-premise," she said.

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