Liquor stores bubble over with demand for champagne |

Liquor stores bubble over with demand for champagne

Tuesday was the busiest day of the year in Aspen liquor stores, as the masses rushed out to buy the traditional bubbly to toast 2003.

“Business has been very brisk,” said Roger Carlsen, manager of the Grog Shop, where at 4 p.m. the line at two cash registers had begun to snake through the store. “Everyone came in yesterday, drank, and they’re back today for more. We love those repeat customers.”

Bottles of Veuve Clicquot champagne were flying off the shelves in the Grog Shop at $46.47 each, and Carlsen mentioned he only had six bottles of Cristal left, which is the store’s most expensive brand at $188.49.

“We’ve gone through cases of champagne today,” said Joel Maxson, at Of Grape and Grain. “Today and the day before Christmas are our busiest days. We’ve seen our share of locals and out-of-towners.”

Most liquor store clerks said their packed shops accurately reflect the high number of tourists in town this holiday season.

Fritz Mawicke, manager of The Wine Cellar at Carl’s Pharmacy, said his aisles had been “crazy” all day long, and that he was sold out of $176 bottles of Cristal by 6 p.m.

And it wasn’t just champagne flowing quickly. Liquors of all flavors were being purchased in mass quantities on the last day of 2002 in Aspen.

At Local Spirits, Dan Koehler said he sold $900 worth of alcohol to four people, all in individual bottles. He said the shop’s $179 bottle of Cristal was the most expensive bottle on the shelves, and qualified as a “bargain around here.”

He also pointed out a $6.99 bottle of Black Oak that other patrons might consider a bargain.

“Things have been busy in our store since last week,” the Grog Shop’s Carlsen said.

A clerk in the Butcher’s Block, where the crowd at the counter was three people deep, said she thinks this is the busiest holiday season Aspen has seen in several years.

“I should have ordered more things, because we’re sold out of a lot,” she said, noting that caviar sales for the day were way up.

[Naomi Havlen’s e-mail address is]

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