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Thread: Beer bar -- Pour costs and profit margins for beer vs. liquor

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Brooklyn, NY

    Beer bar -- Pour costs and profit margins for beer vs. liquor

    Hi everyone, I have read a lot -- both here and elsewhere -- about pour costs and profit margins. I understand full well that on average one can ballpark their liquor pour cost somewhere in the 20% to 25% range. And I have read a lot about ways to affect the average cost by upselling, pushing well drinks, and so on. What I'm curious about, however, is the average pour cost for beer and only beer, hard liquor aside. I'm in New York city, and there isn't generally much fluctuation at all. $4, $5 and $6 per beer is pretty much what you see everywhere. Anywhere I go, I can pretty much guarantee myself that a PBR can is $2.50, Bud draught is $4, a Stella is $5 and a craft beer is $6. Is there an industry standard or general rule-of-thumb for what th average pour cost is on beer alone?

    Thanks a lot. I'm looking to open a bar, but I believe I will be selling a staggering amount more beer than liquor to my demographic and I want to make sure my general assumptions of 20% - 25% still hold true. I can't get any distributors to talk to me even about prices without a liquor license.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Frozen Tundra
    Go to your liquor store or grocery store and base it off of those prices. If I get a Corona for 1.03 a bottle and only sell it for 3.50 which is about .25 to .50 more than every other bar around me, than that is only a 29.4% profit margin. However, if I sell it at the same price as the bar right down the street at 3.00 then it changes to 34 1/3%. Just with a .50 differance. Now if you look at your kegs, how do you factor in the waste? Are you getting 2 pitchers of foam from each tap every day? Are you pouring 12 or 16 oz? If a pint cost you .48 each and you should get 127 pints a keg, then figure it out from that. Or are you really only getting 96 pints a keg? The whole goal is to be around 20% cost or less, but my liquor was 48% when I bought my place. And is barely getting down to low 30's% Am I doing good on my costs? The bills are getting paid, are there improvements/firings that need to be done? Better believe it!

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