Coronavirus Australia: Dan Murphy's and BWS introduce product limits to discourage booze hoarding

Frenzied panic-buyers who fear running out of booze when shutdown restrictions strengthen have descended on bottle shops around the country, forcing alcohol retailers to crack down on hoarding.

Bottle shops have not shut under new restrictions announced by Prime Minister Scott Morrison this week, but that didn’t stop thirsty Aussies swarming liquor stores in droves to stock up, leaving some stores without a drop in the house.

RELATED: What is social distancing?

RELATED: Follow the latest coronavirus updates

Responding to the chaos, Dan Murphy’s and BWS – both owned by Woolworths – have been forced to take the same route as supermarkets, which have enforced limits on coveted supplies including toilet paper, pasta and bread.

Hoarders have stripped supermarket shelves bare in some areas. Picture: Getty Images.Source:Getty Images

Thankfully for Aussie beer-lovers, the limits are nowhere near as strict as supermarkets.

At Dan Murphy's in NSW, Vic, ACT, Qld, NT, SA and Tas, the limit per customer per day is 18 bottles of wine, three casks of wine, six bottles of spirits and three cases of beer, cider and premix.

BWS has implemented similar restrictions, with all states and territories (except for WA) having limits of 12 bottles of wine, three casks of wine, four bottles of spirits and four cases of beer, spirits, premix and cider.

WA has stricter limits, with customers able to buy a maximum of two from the following categories: 11.25 litres of beer, cider or pre-mix spirits; 2.25 litres of wine; one litre of spirits; and one litre of fortified wine.

Bottle shops have become the latest target of nervous hoarders. Picture: Supplied.Source:News Corp Australia

Both chains are also encouraging social distancing, have introduced maximum capacities at their stores, and are offering pick-up and delivery services.

A statement on the Dan Murphy's website read: “these limits are in place to ensure everyone has access to the drinks they love”.

One Dan Murphy’s store in Richmond was forced to remind customers to be kind amid the pandemic chaos. Picture: Supplied.Source:News Corp Australia

Meanwhile, Coles has devised an initiative to help support wine, craft beer and spirits producers in NSW and Vic hit by recent bar and restaurant closures.

Today, a spokesperson from the supermarket giant announced Vintage Cellars, Liquorland and First Choice Liquor Market would add stock to their shelves from local wine makers, brewers and distillers to provide a helping hand at a time when many businesses have been forced to stand down.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced stage two of the government’s plan to quell the spread of coronavirus lockdown on Tuesday, detailing bans on auctions and open houses, as well as restrictions surrounding social gatherings.

Non-essential services still remain closed, but this does not including bottle shops attached to pubs, which shut on Monday.

Bottle shops, supermarkets, petrol stations, pharmacies, and convenience stores – as well as cafes with takeaway options – remain open.

The move by Dan Murphy’s and BWS today comes after Australia's supermarket chains were forced to impose product limits for customers to curb shelf-stripping since the coronavirus outbreak.

Shortages – particularly of toilet paper and pasta – have led to customers taking their anger out on staff and other shoppers, with several instances of brazen physical fights in the aisles over scarce and sought-after items.

Vicious arguments over toilet paper have broken out in supermarkets across the country. Picture: Twitter.Source:Twitter

Last week, Prime Minister Scott Morrison ripped into panic buyers, saying the hoarding of supplies is one of the most disappointing things he’s seen in Australian behaviour in response to the coronavirus crisis.

“Stop hoarding,” he said. “I can’t be more blunt about it. Stop it. It is not sensible, it is not helpful and it has been one of the most disappointing things I have seen in Australian behaviour in response to this crisis.

“That is not who we are as a people. It is not necessary. It is not something that people should be doing.”

Product shortages have this week spread to Bunnings, too, which announced on Thursday that it was also placing limits on sales of some products.