Glasses up! Quebec wine, spirits producers having banner year despite pandemic

While many Quebec businesses are struggling during the COVID-19 pandemic, the province's alcohol industries are having a banner year.

Many residents have taken the provincial government's urging to buy local to heart, according to wine, cider and spirit producers.

“We increased our sales, we doubled our sales this year in May and June,” said Josee Cartier of South Shore winery Domaine Cartier-Potelle. “Even if we don't have any events at all this year, the sales doubled so it's very good for us.”

On Saturday, some visitors to the winery told CTV News they saw drinking a local glass of wine as a civic duty.

According to SAQ reports, sales of locally-made wine have gone up 60 per cent in the province since the onset of the pandemic while sales of Quebec spirits have gone up 80 per cent.

“Our gin products have been doing well. We're allowed to sell from the distillery but the tasting rooms have had to close,” said 1769 co-founder Maureen David. “I think the sales reflect the fact that people are going to the SAQ and purchasing our products there.”

Cartier said she's noticed more people travelling locally than ever before, as the border with the United States remains closed and much international travel has been restricted.

“They don't have any choice,” she said. “They have to travel here in Quebec so we have people from almost everywhere. Montreal, Quebec City... everywhere in Quebec and they want to have an experience.”

“At the beginning, we thought it would be the worst year ever and now, it will be the best.” 

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