While most of the retail sector has been decimated by the virus, Steve Mifsud, who owns the Wine Corner bottle shop in Carlton North, says his sales "are dramatically up compared to normal, probably by 50 per cent".
This has been enough to more than cover the losses he accrued when the pandemic forced him to close the bar attached to the Wine Corner store.
National polling by YouGov Galaxy reveals why – 20 per cent of Australians have purchased more alcohol than usual during the pandemic, and 70 per cent are drinking more and 33 per cent are consuming it daily.
"People are coming into the store and maybe buying three or four or six bottles, they're buying a little more as instead of going to a bar or a restaurant, they're having a drink at home," Mr Mifsud said.
"We're also quite a local store and everyone is shopping local as we stick around home, so we have quite a lot of new customers coming in who are local who have not been in before."
Alcohol deliveries, which he initially introduced as a way to keep his staff employed when he closed the bar, are also helping drive sales.
"It's worked really well, people are taking us up on it more and more every day and week as they get more bunkered down, and that will become even larger as the weather turns a little less beautiful."
He anticipates keeping the delivery option running even after the virus shutdown ends.
Consumers are also spending more on quality alcohol as the crisis continues, further improving sales for bottle shops.
"In the first two weeks of the virus, it was the quick cheap stuff. People were saying, 'I'll get a six pack or a dozen', so it was semi stockpiling but also budgeting, as people didn't know how much money they were going to have or if they'd keep their job," Mr Mifsud said.
"But there's been a dramatic shift in the past two weeks. People have gone from spending $15-25 a bottle [of wine] in that first fortnight, to a very noticeable shift in a certain portion of customers saying, 'just give me something under $60'
"These are people who have shopped with me for years and don't usually buy wine at that price point, but they're like, 'I'm stuck at home, I'm not spending much money, I'm not going out for dinner, I want to at least make it nice.'"
Mr Mifsud said he was "concerned and wary" that customers may be using alcohol as a means of escape from the reality of the pandemic.
"It's my business to sell booze, but I've got a social responsibility not to enable people who have problems.
"If I start seeing the same face too many times in a short period of time and buying more than they usually would, then I suggest that they make sure they're looking after themselves."
Almost a third of respondents to the YouGov poll, which was commissioned by the Foundation for Alcohol Research and Education, said they were drinking alcohol to deal with anxiety and stress during the COVID-19 crisis.
FARE chief executive Caterina Giorgi warned heightened alcohol consumption during the crisis could be "worrying news for our community's health".
Despite the boom in retail alcohol sales, Australians are still spending less on grog overall, according to Alcohol Beverages Australia.
“Our beer-, wine- and spirits-producing members are all telling us that sales lost through ‘on-premise’ pubs, bars, clubs and restaurant sales has only marginally been made up for by an increase in packaged retail liquor sales," ABA CEO Andrew Wilsmore said.
Analysis by Commonwealth Bank of credit card transactions backs this up. Overall, alcohol sales were down 10 per cent on the previous year for the week ending April 3, and 13 per cent for the week ending April 10.