Alcohol sales rise during Tropical Storm Gordon


Jacob Meyer

Photo credit: Jacob Meyer

Tyler Wann

Hurricane days usually mean local businesses are going to take a hit while everyone is holed up inside waiting for the storm. But for businesses serving booze, the bad weather can end up paying off.

“There’s something about bad weather of any kind that just pushes people into bars,” said Bruno’s general manager William Wilson. He said despite the declared state of emergency, the bar still did well the night Tropical Storm Gordon was supposed to hit. He said that the bar usually doesn’t close during storms, and that the bad weather actually provides better business for the establishment.

“I enjoy bartending in bad weather myself,” said Williamson. “People tend to spill more of their woes when it’s raining. People just wait it out, have a couple of beers, and talk with friends. Which of course is great for us.”

Williamson noted that the declared state of emergency brought in more businesses from students as well. Colleges around New Orleans cancelled classes in response to Tropical Storm Gordon, giving students ample time to make it home before the rain hit. However, many students, including Tulane senior Haley Robinson, chose to wait out the storm in the comfort of the local bars.

“If there’s a storm, I’m not going to hunker down with bottles of water and batteries, I’m going to face it head on at The Boot with a beer in each fist,” said Robinson.

A 2014 study by Elyria Kemp shows that Robinson may not be alone in her instincts. Kemp’s study “The Calm before the Storm: Examining Emotion Regulation Consumption in the Face of an Impending Disaster” said negative emotions in the face of inclement weather can lead people to stock up, not only on necessities, but also on alcohol. In her study, alcohol was among the most common purchases made in preparation of a storm next to batteries, bottled water, and flashlights.

Kal Thabat, the manager of the Broadway convenience store, experienced this phenomenon firsthand. According to Thabat, alcohol was the first thing to go once the storm threatened the city.

“We stocked up on water and batteries and stuff, but we were disappointed. They weren’t buying those; They were buying alcohol,” he said.

Though the store was well prepared, libations were sold out before the week even started, according to Thabat. He does note that the Labor Day weekend may have intensified the demand, however. He said that eventually customers did return to the store for the necessities.

“We ran out of water about two days later,” said Thabat. “After the booze settled they decided ‘ah, alright we may actually need to survive’ and they came for the water.”

NOPD was reached out to for a comment about drinking during a hurricane, but they were unable to provide one at the time of writing.