For many people around coronavirus related isolation, there’s nothing left to do but drink. That might be something you’ve had moments of feeling or heard a friend say. However, with ListenFirst’s social media analytics tool, we can actually quantify how many more people are expressing interest in alcoholic beverages thanks to the current over abundance of alone time and the inability to have these types of conversations offline in bars.
Looking at the social media trends around 284 alcohol brands, here are four things you need to know about how being in the middle of a pandemic is affecting the social conversation around alcohol.
#1. Engagement Around Alcohol Brands Up By Over 326% In March
Social engagement around alcohol brands increased by 326.51% in March 2020 compared to March 2019. ListenFirst’s social engagement score measures the volume of post responses and fan growth across Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram and hashtag/handle mentions on Twitter.
To give some perspective on that statistic: Hospitals and Food are really important around the pandemic. Yet, comparing March 2020 to March 2019, there was only 141.35% more social engagement around Hospital brands and only 58.08% more social engagement around CPG Food brands.
As much as people are thinking about Food and Healthcare right now, the data shows the pandemic is more likely to have people engaging around discussions about alcohol on social media. Additionally, that’s in no way because of opportunistic behavior by alcohol brands. There were 3,758 posts by alcohol brands in March 2020 which was actually a decrease of -17% compared to the volume of social media posts by alcohol brands in March 2019.
#2. The Coronavirus Is Not Hurting Corona Beer… At Least Not In The Way You Think
If there’s one alcoholic beverage you’d think that could be negatively affected by COVID-19 it would be Corona Beer and initially around the similar name it appears that was the case. A poll, which has since been debunked as being misleading, found 38% of American beer drinkers surveyed said they wouldn’t buy Corona “under any circumstances” at the moment.
However, the social media data tells another story. Looking at March 2020, compared to January 30 – February 29, 2020, Corona Beer only posted 32 times on social media which was a decrease of -64% from the volume of posts they shared in the previous time period. Despite that during March 2020, Corona Beer generated 36,113 new fans on social media, which was an increase of 102% from the volume of fans Corona generated between January 30 – February 29, 2020.
Essentially what happened is because of the similar name people were talking about Corona Beer more organically even as Corona was talking about itself less, for instance Corona beer was mentioned in 5,712,844 Tweets in March 2020, the volume of net new fans and followers on social media speaks to the naming coincidence not being a PR nightmare for the brand.
That said, the Mexican government ordered the suspension of all non-essential activities and rules that brewing beer is non-essential, meaning production of Corona has stopped indefinitely. The coronavirus is obviously negatively impacting Corona beer, just not around PR.
#3. Alcohol Brands Are Having The Most Success By Addressing The Coronavirus
During the Month of March 2020, 8 of the 10 top performing posts by alcohol brands all address the coronavirus in one way or another. For instance, the top performing post generating 82,927 responses was by Guinness. The Facebook post talked about how St. Patrick’s Day feels different this year, and they’re donating half a million dollars back to communities through their Guinness Gives Back Fund. Meanwhile, Budweiser received 51,863 Responses around a Facebook post showing all of the beautiful “Buds” outside your window on the first day of Spring.
Tito’s Handmade Vodka was even more direct in addressing the current crisis, explaining how they’re working on producing ethanol-based hand sanitizers in their distillery in a Facebook post that generated 31,487 responses. Additionally, Fireball decided to pitch in by contributing up to $400,000 in match money to a tip jar fund for out-of-work bartenders in a Facebook post that generated 24,450 responses.
If it’s through comedy or charity, it appears that the social media audience wants to hear from alcohol brands around the coronavirus and on Facebook specifically. 9 of the 10 alcohol brand posts that generated the most responses in March 2020 on social media were posted on Facebook. In comparison only 3 of the 10 alcohol brand posts that generated the most responses in February 2020 were on Facebook, with 6 of those posts being shared on Twitter.
#4. People Are Talking More About Beer Than Wine During The Coronavirus Pandemic
During March there have been more Tweets around Beer, but really people are more interested in drinking all types of alcohol during social isolation. There were 4,043,688 Tweets mentioning Beer in March 2020 which was 40% more than the volume of Tweets than mentioned Beer in March 2019. Meanwhile there were 3,007,145 Tweets mentioning Wine in March 2020 which was an increase of 66% from March 2019.
The top performing Tweet around Wine in March 2020, generating 1,229,080 responses, was about a herd of elephants who broke into a village in the Yunan province and around social isolation were able to drink 30kg of corn wine. Meanwhile, the top performing Tweet about Beer generating 393,596 responses was from a guy who said he did everything right for 10 days except meeting a friend for a beer for an hour, and he still managed to get the coronavirus in that interaction.
For as much as there are social drinkers, on social media at least there are a lot more people who are talking about alcohol around the lack of social interaction. For many, the ability of still being able to drink at home remains one of the few bright spots of this social distancing moment.