It seems that Greeks cannot afford to drown their recession sorrows in booze, an Infobank Hellastat study showed. The figures released show a 45% decline in alcohol sales since the start of the recession in 2008, according to a report from Greek newspaper “Kathimerini.”
The study showed that alcohol consumption has dropped significantly, particularly in bars, clubs, cafes and restaurants, places that were swarming with people before the recession. Also, Greeks seem to drink about half of what they used to drink at home.
Total consumption of alcoholic drinks in 2013 dropped below 1.2 million liters, when in 2008 Greeks consumed 2.26 million liters. Whiskey is reported to have suffered the greatest decline, followed by ouzo. However, last year’s drop was considerably smaller than that seen in previous years.
The study also showed that other than the general economic downfall, continuous taxation hikes led consumers to buy less alcohol. The special consumption tax on alcohol has increased by 125 percent since early 2009. The special tax has driven the average cost of imported spirits to 25.50 euros per liter, while locally produced spirits cost an average 12.75 euros per liter.
However, the 1% increase in alcohol sales in 2013, hints that the downturn may stop. Last year, 1.68 million liters of alcohol were sold in Greece. But the slight increase is attributed mostly to exports, and mainly those of ouzo. Greek ouzo manufacturers have benefited from the increase in overseas demand, thus balancing losses from domestic sales.
Also, the recession has forced many Greek consumers to turn to homemade spirits, such as tsipouro, and to contraband spirits.