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Consumers find it cheaper to stay home for New Year's

Economy brings less travel, more local parties

Brian buys beer on New Year’s Day from Jim Bielinki at Brookfield Liquor and Beer.

Brian buys beer on New Year’s Day from Jim Bielinki at Brookfield Liquor and Beer. Photo By Shakara Robinson

Jan. 2, 2013

Bright lights, confetti and party horns were the highlight of most New Year's Eve bar parties, but many people chose to celebrate the calendar change in the comfort of their own home.

Jim Bielinski, owner of Brookfield Liquor and Beer, 13660 W. Capitol Drive, said many of his New Year's Eve customers mentioned they were planning to stay home this year.

"Many people have come to learn that it's a lot cheaper to be at home and it's a lot safer than being on the road with drunken drivers," Bielinski said.

A bottle of beer typically sells for $3 to $5 at a tavern, and mixed drinks can cost $8 or more per glass. Some consumers have chosen to use that money to buy an entire bottle or case of their favorite alcoholic drink instead of running a tab at the bar.

While some prefer the party atmosphere of clubs and bars, many find comfort in staying close to home and away from potential drunken drivers.

"A lot of people were doing group parties in their neighborhood, where they can just walk from house to house," Bielinski said. "You avoid being pulled over for a costly OWI and you avoid being hit by a drunk. Even if you are sober or in a taxi, a drunk driver can still hit you."

The down economy also was a factor in the home-for-the-holiday trend.

"As economy issues increase, consumer spending at bars and clubs decreases," Bielinski said.

Brookfield Liquor and Beer has been open for 16 months, and although liquor sales are up overall between Christmas and New Year's, according to Bielinski, construction on Capitol Drive hurt the business this season.

"We had a very small increase this December over last December," he said. "We lost a lot of customers from the construction."

As Bielinski's store welcomes the new year, he said, the Packers can help sales start off strong in January by progressing in the playoffs.

"Between January and March, liquor sales decline, but the Packers can keep us strong through January by winning," he said with a laugh. "When they win, fans look forward to celebrating, and that's where we come in."

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