Utah liquor stores hope to reduce long lines and empty shelves during the busy holiday season by adding more deliveries, increasing employee hours and possibly keeping some outlets open longer, the Utah Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control announced Tuesday.
The changes in operations are designed “to better facilitate customers and supply during the busiest time of the year at Utah State Liquor Stores,” spokesman Terry Wood said in a news release.
The extra effort is needed as Utah liquor sales continue to reach new heights, especially during the holidays. In 2016, for example, on the Friday before Christmas, Utah had its highest sales day ever, reaching $3.7 million, a record by $400,000.
Among the steps that will be taken this year:
• Liquor deliveries to individual stores will increase, with some stores receiving two, three and even four loads per week during the holidays. “This will help ensure that popular items, such as Champagne and other sparkling wines, do not get depleted on store shelves,” Wood said.
• A second shift has been hired at the DABC warehouse to ensure that products can be picked up and loaded for delivery to stores. The DABC warehouse currently is operating 16 hours a day, five days a week, Wood said.
• Hours at some stores that usually close at 7 p.m. may be extended. Stay tuned.
• Some cashiers and other store employees will get extra hours each week to meet demand.
• Some administrative personnel from DABC headquarters will assist in stores on the busiest days to help customers, cashiers and restocking.
• The warehouse for restaurants and bars will be open Saturdays from noon to 5 p.m. to ensure those with licenses to serve liquor do not run out of product.
• To speed the checkout process, busy stores will have security personnel check identification as customers enter the store. This eliminates a cashier having to stop the checkout process to check IDs.
“While we still expect lines on the busiest days, these steps will make the process faster and more pleasant for customers during the pre-holiday rush,” Wood said.
In the past, the busiest days at Utah liquor stores are the Wednesday before Thanksgiving and the two or three days before Christmas and New Year’s.
This year there will be an additional reason to shop early. Besides being closed on Christmas and New Year’s Day, which both fall on Mondays, liquor stores will be closed on Dec. 24 (Christmas Eve) and Dec. 31 (New Year’s Eve), Sundays, when state law requires stores to be closed.