Don’t wait until Saturday to make your Christmas liquor run, Utah liquor officials are warning. Unless, of course, you prefer to wait in a long line and want limited choices.
“If there’s any way you can shift your shopping to another day, please do it,” pleaded Sal Petilos, the director of the Utah Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control, on Tuesday.
Dec. 23 is typically one of the busiest days at Utah’s state-owned liquor stores as shoppers stock up on holiday wine, beer and spirits. Last year, on that date, Utah had its highest sales day ever, reaching $3.7 million, a record by $400,000.
The DABC expects it to be even busier in 2017 as Christmas Eve falls on a Sunday. That means liquor stores will be closed Dec. 24 and 25.
For those who procrastinate, “we’re asking the public to be patient, and we will get you through checkout as quickly as possible,” Petilos said, noting that there are limited numbers of cashiers at each store.
In November, the DABC beefed up deliveries to stores and increased employee hours, hoping to reduce long lines and empty shelves during the busy holiday season.
Officials also had hoped to extend the hours at some of the state’s busiest liquor stores, but most outlets don’t have enough staff to do that.
The liquor store in Orem is the only one with enough employees to stay open longer, said DABC spokesman Terry Wood. “That store normally closes at 7 p.m. but is now staying open until 10 p.m. during the holidays.“
The DABC also was able to extend the hours at the warehouse that caters to restaurants and bars, ensuring that those businesses do not run out of product.