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Frankie Arguinzni, an employee at Supreme Liquor in Cambridge, MA, gets down three 1.75 liter bottles of vodka from the top shelf in April 2020. Photo: Matthew J. Lee/The Boston Globe via Getty Images

High-end liquor gained its sharpest increase in sales in at least 40 years after the coronavirus pandemic brought lockdowns across the U.S., the Wall Street Journal reports.

Why it matters: Adults in a peer-reviewed JAMA report said last September that they drank 14% more often over a five day period in 2020 than they did in 2019.

By the numbers: U.S. distillers' revenue grew by 7.7% to $31.2 billion in 2020, according to revenue data from the Distilled Spirits Council.

  • The trade body told the WSJ that figure marked the highest jump in sales in four decades, although it fits a long-term trend of rising U.S. spirit sales.

Go deeper

Felix Salmon, author of Capital
Jan 31, 2021 - World

Rich countries' pandemic preparedness failures

Reproduced from Branko Milanovic using GHS Index and Worldometer data; Chart: Axios Visuals

Some of the richest countries in the world — the ones that had been considered the best prepared to handle a pandemic — turned out to be the ones that suffered the highest death rates.

Why it matters: The SARS-CoV-2 virus has proven that preparedness needs to be global, and coordinated.

10 Senate Republicans propose compromise on COVID relief package

Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

A group of 10 Senate Republicans, led by Sen. Susan Collins (Maine), sent a letter to President Biden Sunday requesting a meeting, saying they have developed a counterproposal to the president's COVID-19 relief plan.

The big picture: The proposal includes $160 billion in spending for vaccines, testing and tracing, treatment and medical equipment. The senators said the plan "could be approved quickly by Congress with bipartisan support," if it gained Biden's support.

Jan 30, 2021 - World

Science helps New Zealand avoid another coronavirus lockdown

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern (L) visits a lab at Auckland University in December. Photo: Phil Walter/Getty Images

New Zealand has avoided locking down for a second time over COVID-19 community cases because of a swift, science-led response.

Why it matters: The Health Ministry said in an email to Axios Friday there's "no evidence of community transmission" despite three people testing positive after leaving managed hotel isolation. That means Kiwis can continue to visit bars, restaurants and events as much of the world remains on lockdown.

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