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It's coming up on holiday time again, and I can't wait until egg nog is back in the dairy case. Why don't they sell it all year round?

-- Waiting, the net

Eggnog in August? Nothing manufacturers can do will convince us that's a good idea. According to Jack Sabatte, dairy owner and director of nog operations at Berkeley Farms in Hayward, the specialty drink is made in ice cream processing plants and hits the stores about a week before Thanksgiving. Sales peak slightly at turkey time, tail off during the first two weeks of December, then are gangbuster through New Year's Eve. But from January 1 through the middle of November, they can't give the stuff away. It's expensive to make, there's nothing they can do with leftover eggnog, and retail space in the dairy case is tight. So every fall Berkeley Farms surveys decades of sales figures, determines whether the holidays fall on weekends or weekdays, checks the Farmer's Almanac, and the Psychic Hotline, lights candles to the nog gods, and sets a manufacturing schedule. East Coast marketers once tried to convince us that eggnog's just the stuff for Easter, but we didn't fall for it. Even trying to sell it too early in November is a bust. Nog-wise, the consumer has spoken.

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