Online sales of alcohol are booming

Business Insider SA
Fat Bastard wines. (The Drinks Business)
  • Online alcohol sellers are reporting a strong increase in demand.
  • This is despite the fact that buyers will only get their deliveries at Level 3 of the lockdown.
  • One liquor store has been holding virtual wine tastings, and is preparing for drive-through collections.
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Online wine sellers are seeing strong sales - even though they can only deliver their products in Level 3 of lockdown.  

Before the lockdown, Dry Dock Liquor, a boutique liquor store in Parkhurst, Johannesburg, only did very limited trading on its online platform. "In the last week we've had over 100,000 orders," says co-founder Martin Pienaar. has seen the number of online orders and value per order triple since lockdown, says Judy Brower, owner and director. The company also saw a strong rise in orders for another of its sites, CellarDirect, which sells wine directly from wineries. has seen the highest increase in orders in Gauteng, which now represents almost double the Western Cape's orders. Transactions spike around 15:00 each day. While one of SA's biggest online wine sellers,, has reported that its sales for April were at almost 70% of a year before, but this was despite any marketing - and orders from new clients grew by a third, COO Johan Wegner told Netwerk24.     

"Online sales will become the normal," Brower predicts. 

The lockdown has seen sellers get creative in their attempts to, not only stay open, but keep their clientele during this time. Dry Dock now hosts virtual "wine tastings" on Friday evenings, where local winemakers share the stories behind their wines in videoconferences with customers. Participants also get to discuss the bottles they have in their stash or order one of the bottles discussed.

"We think this is something we will continue after the lockdown," he says. Pienaar says customers, who may not have had the time to attend previously, can now participate online, which offers a new degree of flexibility. 

He says Dry Dock is preparing for trade by offering drive-through deliveries, where customers won't have to leave their cars (or touch the bottles) to receive their orders. 

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