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Thread: Liquors to Carry- Well, Call & TopShelf

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Location
    Seattle,WA
    Posts
    11

    Liquors to Carry- Well, Call & TopShelf

    We're about two months away from closing up our beer and wine bar to become a full bar. This will be part of our restaurant that has also only served beer and wine in the past. Now my question:

    I'm trying to make a list of liquors to carry for well, call and topshelf. My goal isn't to have everything under the sun, but a good range of necessary items and some splurges. The bar itself only seats about 30 people.

    Any ideas??

    So far I'm thinking maybe Seagrams Vodka as a call, and Smmirnoff or Stoli as call with either Grey Goose or Belvedere as Topshelf. After going through all the vodkas available I thought maybe it would be more productive asking all of you.


    THANK YOU!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Tempe, AZ
    Posts
    90
    Liquor preferences can tend to be regional. What works in CA might not work in Alabama.

    Ask other bars around you what they stock, it's a great place to start.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    ar
    Posts
    109

    Too each his own

    Here is a nice shelf for a "bar".

    Vodkas:
    Well - Smynroff, Wyborowa
    Call - The Absolut line ( Citron, Pears, Peach, Raspberry, Vanilla, 100 or the rest ), Stoli, Sky, Absolut Level, Everclear ( 192 )
    Premium/Super Premium - Ciroc, Grey Goose, Belveder, Kettle One, Pravda, 360, Chopin, Jewel of Russia

    Gins:

    Well - Tanqueray, Bombay & Bombay Sapphire
    Call - Tanqueray Rangpur, Tanqueray Ten, Plymouth, Beefeater

    Rums:

    Well - Bicardi, Havana Club, Meyers
    Call - Bicardi 151, Bundaberg, Malibu, Captain Morgan & Sailor Jerry, Havana 7 year
    Premium/Super Premium - Appleton Estate, Cruzan Single Barrel, Don Q, Mount Gay, Santa Theresa

    Whiskey/Bourbon/Scotch:

    Well - Jameson, J & B, Famous Grouse
    Call - Jack Daniels, Jim Beam, Cutty Sark, Southern Comfort, Dewars, Johnny Walker Red, Whyte & McKay, Crown Royal, Seagrams 7/CC/VO, Wild Turkey
    Premium/Super Premium - Johnny Walker Black/Green/Blue, Glenlivet, Glen Morganie, Glen Fiddich, Gentleman Jack, Jim Beam Black, Woodford Reserve, Knob Creek, Pappy Van Winkle, Bushmills, Henessey, Chivas

    Tequilas:

    Well - Sauza, Jose Cuervo
    Call - Jose Cuervo 1800, El Jimador
    Premium/Super Premium - Patron ( Silver ), Trago, Don Julio

    Stock -

    Midori, Chambord, Galliano, Contreau, Frangelico, Baileys, Kahlua, Amarula, DeKuyper peach schnapps, Jeagar, Rumpleminz, Goldschlager, Apple Pucker,
    Grand Marnier, ( Drambuie & Tia Maria ) , Cachaca and of course other liqeuors, schnapps and promotional hype.

    I use Domestic or National brands as they are called where I am during Happy Hour 2 x 1 and then pull them from the rack.

    Beers - Heineken, Stella Artois, Guinness, Corona, Staropramen, Grolsch, Leffe, Wartseiner, Budweiser, Negra Modelo, Carlsberg, Bass Ale, Lowenbrau, Erlinger, Chimay and the most popular national brand and a few micros & seasonals.

    Now as you can probably guess I am not in the States that aside from the lack of light beers on the menu and of course American mainstays. My new pventure is under its 90 day period so the rack is light since half of of the items on my list have been brought from outside the country ( to even include Roses lime juice and sour mix - not available here ) and about another 30 or so sought after items I have yet to secure.

    If you have a "bar" then the bottles matter IMO, especially if you have a killer place. May I recommend to you for an added dimension an espresso machine. I have a Racinio Italian espresso machine and serve Illy Italian espresso and Twinnings tea. Why let Starbucks or Dunkin Donuts get the last buck from your customers pocket.

    A fine spirits shelf again IMO is one that carries something for a wide budget range and that has a rotation value and not just an expensive liquid asset that has to be dusted off over the years.

    Last note: My spirits shelf can be had in the states for relatively small money and all are sellers. Granted the Absolut line is nothing more than a fabled marketing brainstorm, but some are very good for mixing. The distributor will most likely give you the line for free as will many other distributors provide samples of their products.

    Last, last note: Be a good bar! If your not a club or a high volume place stick with Coke and Red Bull. For volume bibs are the best and so is Joke-a-cola etc. etc. Then again if you need refrigerators and freezers?
    Also I recommend what the first reply to your post noted and start with what is selling. Your loyal regulars will make recommendations as per their tastes and that is what should always be on your shopping list first and those 42" Sony Bravia flat screen LCD TV's do not come cheap.

    All the best
    Last edited by casabar; 08-05-2008 at 02:45 AM.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Tempe, AZ
    Posts
    90
    See? That's insane. Most of that guys "well" drinks are calls and premiums here. Jameson for well? That's unheard of out here. That's a premium shot in my neck of the woods.

    I find alcohol choices to be fairly regional. Talk to your customers, talk to other bar owners/managers. Find what works for them.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Here
    Posts
    453
    Talk to other bartenders in the area. Experienced ones can rattle off all the top sellers in your area. Ask your liquor rep also, careful though that they don't load you up on uneeded inventory. For well liquor get the cheapest brand possible imo. I wouldn't limit yourself to only 2-3 brands of any type of liquor either. While you don't want to be sitting on dead product, when someone asks for something you are going to want to have it. Liquor doesn't go bad (99% of it anyway, heh). I think I have 10 brands of vodka but it is super easy to mix, girls like it and it is popular in this area, just as an example.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Location
    Arizona, USA
    Posts
    384
    Quote Originally Posted by JackMaverik
    See? That's insane. Most of that guys "well" drinks are calls and premiums here. Jameson for well? That's unheard of out here.

    I agree. Hennessy isn't a whiskey, bourbon or scotch either.

    Let me rattle off a quick list. However, remember to start small. It's much easier to add an item than take it away. Here's a very small list.

    Well: Whatever is the cheapest... period

    Vodka:

    Call: Smirnoff
    Premium: Absolut, Stoli (and at least 3 flavored vodkas)
    Super Premium: Grey Goose, Kettle one

    Gin:

    Call: Tanqueray
    Premium: Bombay
    Super: Bombay Saphire

    Rum:

    Call: Bacardi, Captain Morgan
    Premium: Meyers's

    Tequila:

    Call: Jose Cuervo
    Premium: Cuervo Traditional, 1800
    Super Premium: Patron Silver

    Bourbon/Whiskey

    Call: Jim Beam, Seagrams Seven, C.C.
    Premium: Jack Daniels, Jameson
    Super Premium: Makers Mark

    Scotch:

    Call: No such thing
    Premium: Johnny Red
    Super: Johnny Black, Glennlivit

    Brandy/Cognac:

    Call: Christian Bros
    Premium: Hennesy VS
    Super: Hennesey VSOP

    Cordials:

    AMARETTO
    BAILEY'S
    BLACKBERRY BRANDY
    BLUE CURACAO
    BUTTERSHOTS
    CINAMON SCHNAPPS
    CRÈME DE BANANA
    CRÈME DE COCOA, WHITE
    CRÈME DE MENTHE GREEN
    CRÈME DE ALMOND
    PEPPERMINT SCHNAPPS
    DRAMBUIE
    FRANGELICO
    GALLIANO
    GOLDSCHLAGER
    GRAND MARNIER
    HAZLENUT LIQUEUR (CHEAP FRANGELICO SUBSTITUTE)
    JAGERMEISTER
    KAHLUA
    MALIBU
    MELON LIQOUR (OR MIDORI)
    PEACH SCHNAPPES
    PUCKER, APPLE
    PUCKER, WATERMELON
    PUCKER, RASBERRY
    RAZZMATAZZ
    RUMPLEMINTZ
    SAMBUCA ROLETTO
    SLOE GIN, DECRAPPER
    SOUTHERN COMFORT
    TRIPLE SEC
    TUACA
    DRY VERMOUTH
    SWEET VERMOUTH
    YUKON JACK

    Start small and grow into your inventory. Build relationships with your reps.


    Regards,

    Steve

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Location
    Arizona, USA
    Posts
    384
    Just tried to PM you Jack Maverick, but I can't. I own a bar in the Phoenix as well. Let's figure out how to trade contact info.

    Steve

    PS. I'm dissappearing for a few days for a Vegas convention. I'll be back by Friday.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    ar
    Posts
    109
    Late or should I say early Tuesday morning my time I provided you with my shelf as an example of items you may or may not want to select from. Inadvertantely listing Henessey under the scotch/bourbon/whiskey list rather than the cognac , cordials & brandy list ( I only have 1 cognac & 1 brandy BTW ) and also not listing the entire stock inventory I felt was not necessary.

    I have a friend in the states that carries Bud, Bud Light, Coors, Coors Light and about 30 bottles of liquor, most of which are well rack quality as well a Jaegar dispencer and his business is booming.

    My business targets expatriates, tourists and the over 24 professional locals. There are many factors to take into consideration and from my neck of the woods I am targeting a speciific spending group. If it fails I can easily lower my standards and follow suit with my competitors. The adage being that it is simpler to tear down a building than it is to construct one.

    If you would like gp I can send you a picture from week one and a current one and you can see that I started minimal ( even compared to the states ) and from there allowed generated revenues set aside from product sales do the rest.

    Keep in my as per Estefons more complete listings of what may be considered standard bar stock set-up, that the majority of those colorful liquids and shapely bottles will rarely if ever lose their neck.

    Good luck and congratulations!

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Location
    Texas
    Posts
    24
    Keep things as simple as possible .
    REMEMBER you want to maxamize your Profit.
    Wells in my book would be anything McCormick , and Barton, look into those two company's for the biggest bang for your buck!

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    Central,NJ
    Posts
    378
    Quote Originally Posted by theforum
    Keep things as simple as possible .
    REMEMBER you want to maxamize your Profit.
    Wells in my book would be anything McCormick , and Barton, look into those two company's for the biggest bang for your buck!
    Boulain,Bennetts flavored vodkas,Bartons vodka,gin and rum.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Tempe, AZ
    Posts
    90
    Hey you can contact me at any point.
    jack@theloveblisters.com (old email address)
    I guess PM's are currently turned off.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    LA...Lower Alabama
    Posts
    149

    Just because someone asks for it..

    Don't feel like you have to stock a particular liquor because someone asks for it. I still have several liquors on my shelf that someone that came in a few times asked for, so my manager bought it. They stopped coming in and now I either have to let it sit on the shelf taking up space, run a special to move it, or take it home.

    I did however have a couple of bottles of cheap whiskey that had been taking up space, so I found a regular who drinks that type of liquor and GAVE them the bottle. That did a lot for my PR!

    Over the last few months I have eliminated approximately 25% of what I was stocking and no one has missed it.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Location
    Seattle,WA
    Posts
    11
    Thank you to all for your input. It has led me to realize I need more than I though, haha.

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