‘Gotta stock up. Got the in-laws coming’: customers endure long pre-Thanksgiving lines at Utah State Liquor stores

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COTTONWOOD HEIGHTS (ABC4 News) – The pre-Thanksgiving rush was on Wednesday at the 41 state liquor stores throughout Utah on what’s traditionally been their busiest day of the year.

Lines to get in…and lines to check out. It’s a long-standing tradition at Utah State Liquor Stores on the day before Thanksgiving, even before COVID-19 restrictions limited the number of customers inside.

Kevin Warenski arrived at the Cottonwood Heights store at 10 in the morning to beat the crowds.
“This is the busiest day at one of the busiest stores here in Utah,” Warenski told ABC4 News.

And it’s the most profitable day of the year for the Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control.

“Last year, at this time on this date, the day before Thanksgiving, the sales at Liquor & Wine stores were three and a half million,” DABC Communications Director Terry Wood said.

Add up the five days before Turkey Day 2019 and the DABC raked in nearly $12.5 million at the cash registers. Wood says those big bucks benefit Utahns whether they drink or not because a big chunk of the profits goes to school lunch programs, DUI enforcement, and the state’s General Fund.

“Last year we gave over $100 million to the state General Fund, quite a bit,” Wood said. “It helps keep everybody’s taxes low so it means more to the taxpaying public than it does to the DABC.”

And despite the wait, most customers spirits remained high Wednesday.

“Gotta stock up,” Warenski said. “Got the in-laws coming. The house is going to be in chaos. Still have a turkey to cook and get ready. Having a nice margarita at the end of the day. Right before they get here is going to be a good thing.”

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