Sunday, December 31, 2000

Shoppers race to buy New Year's cheer

By Kevin Aldridge
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        Did you remember to pick up that bottle of champagne for tonight's New Year's celebration?

        If not, you might be toasting with a bottle of beer.

        Thousands of New Year's revelers across the Tristate were scrambling in the cold and snow Saturday, standing in long lines to beat a midnight deadline for the purchase of alcohol.

[photo] At the Party Source in Bellevue, shoppers stock up in the champagne aisle on Saturday. Ohio and Kentucky laws forbid the sale of liquor on Sundays.
(Jeff Swinger photo)
| ZOOM |
        Because New Year's Eve falls on a Sunday this year, Saturday was the last chance many Tristate party-goers had to buy hard liquor before the ball drops tonight. Drive-thrus and liquor stores across Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky were swamped with people trying to make last-minute purchases.

        “We were slammed all day long,” said Kevin Sytraus, an employee at Airy Pony Keg on Colerain Avenue in Groesbeck.

        In Kentucky, liquor and wine sales are prohibited on Sunday, but beer is available. Ohioans can purchase beer and wine in stores, but not liquor.

        Mark Mercurio, 23, of Oakley, was among the scores of people who braved the chill to buy booze at the Party Source in Bellevue Saturday night. Mr. Mercurio said he plans to throw a bash for a group of about 40 friends at his home.

        “I didn't want to take any chances,” Mr. Mercurio said, toting a keg of beer. “I decided to stock up on the beer and let them bring the food.”

        Tim Ryan, Terry Sands and Howard Gaylor all drove about 20 miles from Taylor Mill to the Party Source to stock up on supplies.

        “We just wanted to make sure that we had something to toast the New Year with,” said Mr. Ryan, 34.

        National surveys have found that most Americans will stay home tonight, or celebrate with friends. Marie Smith, of West Chester, is one such reveler. “My husband and I are just going to have a small intimate evening with just the two of us at home,” Mrs. Smith said. “We figured it would be safer than going out anywhere.”

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