Firstly let’s consider where these products come from: Alcohol manufacturing companies such as Diageo dream up these products in an attempt to increase their market share, and therefore profits. Owning the hottest new liquor brand can be very lucrative (Do some reading up on the story of Grey Goose). The downside is all the not-so-excellent liquor inventory products we suffer in between these occasional successes. Perhaps I’m being harsh here: There are usually a couple of great new products a year that do really catch on. Fireball Cinnamon Whiskey is the latest example in Colorado and other notable successes include Van Gogh Espresso or you could argue flavored vodkas in general. Let’s get back to the point though: As owner or manager of a bar, what should you do with them? Here are a few thoughts:
• Beware of transition from free to f****** expensive: These products will show up free for a few weeks and often be stockpiled on the aforementioned bottom shelf of the liquor storage room. Then one day, without warning, that previously free bottle will arrive, only now you’ll be paying full price. Tip number one: Your receiving procedures should be sufficiently thorough that you refuse the product on the first instance you are charged (that it unless you actually want this new liquor inventory product).
• My overall recommendation is that whatever you do, make sure your bar profits in some way from the free product. In reality it’s not really free but ‘on the house’ in part recognition of the fact that you spend thousands of dollars each year stocking your liquor inventory.
Here are a few ways to put the previous point into practice:
-Run a shot or drink special which contains that new free liquor inventory product. This is actually what your distributor wants you to do with the product. Put it on display, include it in your product offering and see if it sticks. If nothing else, your price conscious customers will be grateful for a deal on a shot. The obvious flipside of this is the person who usually buys a $5 shot may switch it up to the $3 special though good will also has value.
-Another option is to give it away. You can give it to your customers or how about giving away to a staff member who does something good. How about a competition: Give it to the server with the day’s highest sales or raffle it select a winner from your customers which ‘like’ you during a set period.
• Whatever you do don’t just put it on the bottom shelf to fester: You’d be better pouring it down the sink since that bottom shelf could be occupied with a couple cases of products you don’t typically order by the case due to lack of storage space for you liquor inventory.
Video - Liquor Inventory Systems