The day before Thanksgiving is typically the busiest day of the year at Utah’s 45 state-owned liquor stores and the tradition is expected to continue in 2017, according to the Utah Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control.
Last year, the state set a record on the Wednesday before the November holiday, reaching $3.38 million in liquor sales, DABC statistics show. On that day, consumers also purchased 342,161 bottles of wine, heavy-beer and spirits, also a record.
And based on sales numbers from this past weekend, the state may well surpass last year’s numbers, DABC spokesman Terry Wood said. “We’re on pace to break that record today.”
Liquor sales on Friday, Saturday, Monday and Tuesday were up between five and 10 percent, Wood said. Utah liquor stores are closed on Sundays.
After customer complaints, the DABC has stepped up its holiday efforts this year, adding more deliveries to stores and increased employee hours.
“We’re trying to make the entire experience less stressful for everyone,” said Wood, one of several administrative employees who were dispatched to busy stores along the Wasatch Front to help with bagging and stocking duties.
Knowing there would be lines, about 100 shoppers stood in line before the 11 a.m. opening of the Cottonwoods Heights stores, one of the busiest in the state.
“The earlier the better,” said customer Steve Ross. “The lines will be worse later today.”
For those who do shop in the afternoon or evening, they can expect limited parking at many stores and long lines.
“I’ve done that in the past,” said Jeff Trost, who arrived early on Wednesday. “I won’t do it again.”