In a few days the seconds will tick off toward midnight as an old year ends and a new one begins.
For many, that traditional countdown will be accompanied by the popping of a champagne cork and a toast to good fortune during the coming months.
Like lapel widths and hemlines, wine and spirits are often a matter of fashion, but the tradition of sipping sparkling wine to greet the new year has remained a staple in the United States for decades.
Liquor stores do a brisk business at the end of December, and Maryville is no exception.
Champagne may not exactly be Nodaway County's most popular alcoholic beverage, but just about everyone who imbibes seems to pick up a bottle of bubbly for New Year's Eve, according to Pete Gibson, the assistant wine and spirits manager at Hy-Vee.
"We go through quite a bit of it this time of year," said Gibson, who added that sparkling wine seems to have become more of a tradition than a beverage of choice at many parties and year-end social functions.
"Just about everybody seems to grab a bottle after they pick up whatever else it is they are going to serve," he said.
Of course, most of those folks won't really be drinking champagne on New Year's Eve, even if that's what they call it. True champagne comes only from the administrative province of Champagne in northeastern France. Everything else, technically, is sparkling wine.
For non-connoisseurs, the easiest way to identify the genuine article is probably the amount of money that leaves your wallet when you buy it.
As usual this year, Hy-Vee has stocked a modest selection of popular-brand true champagnes, such as Moet Chandon, Perrier Jouet and Taittinger. All sell for around $45 a bottle with the exception of Veuve Clicquot Ponsardin, which will set the discriminating reveler back another couple of sawbucks.
It's not in yet, but Gibson also expects to have a couple of bottles of Dom Perignon on hand for New Year's Eve. At $150 a bottle, it doesn't exactly fly off the (top) shelf, but the store generally sells some of the premium-grade bubbly every year.
On the other end of the scale, Gibson said, are such popular sparkling wines as Martini & Rossi and Asti Spumante, many of which sell for $15 or less.
Over the past 20 years or so, Missouri has developed its own award-winning wine industry. Though vintages produced in Europe and California dominate shelves at most area stores, many offer wines vinted right here in the Show-Me State, such as German-influenced varieties from Stone Hill Winery near Hermann and Les Bourgeois in Rocheport.
Of course, wine is not to everyone's taste, and Gibson said a number of premium spirits are proving popular this New Year's, including that Missouri Ozarks speciality — moonshine whiskey.
Page 2 of 2 - Don't worry, commercial "'shine" is fully legal, Gibson said, though it's often made from recipes that hearken back to the heyday hot-rodding mountaineers who raced shipments of illicit corn liquor under the noses of federal revenue agents.
Some modern moonshine — essentially a clear, neutral grain spirit — is flavored with apples or berries preserved by the alcohol at the bottom of the container, which often takes the form of a mason jar or ceramic jug for those who want to add a little backwoods nostalgia to their New Year's gathering.
Flavored spirits of all kinds are especially popular this holiday season, Gibson said, particularly a concoction named Rum Chata, a rum-based spiced cream liqueur. Other favorites include a wide selection of flavored vodkas, which have come a long way since James Bond first ordered his dry martinis "shaken, not stirred."
Once considered a tasteless spirit, Vodka these days comes in everything from pumpkin pie and caramel to to "brownie batter."
"They all come with their own crazy recipes," Gibson said.