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How Much Can You Earn from Your Liquor Store

Published Jun 20, 2022 Retail
How Much Profit Margin Will You Earn From a Liquor Store
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“Quick Summary” If you’re planning to open your liquor store, the first thought that comes to mind will be, “How much profit margin will I earn from a liquor store?” The answer to this question depends on whether you’re just starting fresh or expanding your existing business.

Whatever is your reason, the answer is not as simple as it seems. This blog will take you through all the different aspects that influence the profit margins for the liquor stores and give you an estimate of what kind of profits you can expect to make from each type of business. So let’s get started.

Assess Your Expenses Before Kick-Starting Your Business

No matter how big or small a business is, such as a liquor store, they have two types of expenses to meet: One-time expenses and recurring expenses. If you’re looking to start and run a successful liquor store,it’s crucial to understand the beneficial aspects involved.

You must weigh these expenses against the product prices you set and the profit margins you wish to earn from each sale. Before you decide to set the price that earns you reasonable profits, you’ll need to study how your competitors manage their expenses and profit margins.

Your expenses will include inventory and supplies, utility bills, rent or building maintenance costs, governmental taxes, and fees to obtain permits for operating your business.

At last, you need to consider that you’ll also need to pay an income tax on profits from your liquor store. Many variables help decide what price can be charged to the customers and how much profit you can afford.

Once your assessment completes, you are ready to calculate the cost per unit.

Calculate the Cost Per Unit

The ‘Cost Per Unit or Unit Cost’ is the total expense related to procurement, storage, and sale of a single unit of a particular product. Unit cost is equal to the cost of goods sold. The cost per unit considers all fixed and variable costs of a particular product or class of products.

Let’s take a hypothetical example.

Ideally, a liquor store needs close to 20,000 units to keep its shelves stocked.

Assuming your costs are $5 per unit and you need 20,000 units to run your business yearly. You will have spent $100,000. If you sell all your stock at an average price of $8 each, you will earn a Net Profit of $60,000 annually, a Net Profit Margin of 37.50%, and a Profit Percentage of 60.00%.

Total Purchase (expense) Price: $5 X 20,000 units = $100,000
Total Sell (revenue) Price: $8 X 20,000 units = $160,000
Net Profit: $60,000 ($160,000 - $100,000)
Net Profit Margin: 37.50% ({Total Revenue - Total Expense} / Total Revenue X 100)
Profit Percentage: 60.00% ({Total Revenue - Total Expense} / Total Expense X 100)

Liquor Business Profit Margin - An Approach

The liquor business profit margin differs from store to store. Not only does your location influence profit margins, but also what you have on stock. If you go for higher profit margins, consider carrying more expensive products and being in a more upscale neighborhood than competitors. However, you may not be able to take on too much inventory if you’re looking for higher-end brands and varieties than other stores.

Your liquor store profit margin will typically be between 20% and 30%. These profit margins are in line with averages from other retail businesses. If you’re looking to open a beer or wine store, those businesses have about 40% average net profit.

Location is an important variable when considering your liquor store profit margin. The country of origin and state and local taxes applied are also significant factors that add to the profit percentage of the products you sell. If you carry only local craft beers or niche wines from certain countries, your prices will be higher than what others charge for mass-produced alcohol.

Businesses That Sell Alcohol

Besides dedicated liquor stores, many grocery stores, convenience stores, and gas stations also sell alcohol. Such stores may not be concerned about huge profit margins from alcohol sales as alcohol is not their primary product. They maintain a limited stock of alcohol only to satisfy their customers.

Restaurants and bars have an advantage over normal liquor stores. They don't bill you for the entire bottle or 12-pack of beer but consider “pour cost” while serving you in proportions of your choice. Their location, ambiance, display, and service add to the price of the alcohol served. As a result, bars and restaurants command higher profits than a liquor store's business profit margin. They might offer you complimentary snacks, soft drinks, and ice cubes, but all these ultimately add to the price of the alcohol.

So a liquor store would have lower profit margins than a bar and restaurant, whereas higher margins than a grocery store, gas station, or convenience store that sells alcohol.

Varieties of Alcohol Sold

As most people know, beer, wine, and hard liquor are generally priced at different rates. Premium wines generally see higher profit margins because they are more expensive.

Like any retail store, you’ll see some control over your prices. These price controls fall into three price points—wholesale, standard retail, or premium. State laws generally dictate the price controls on liquor. A certain amount of markup is allowed per bottle sold at retail shops in most states. For example, California wine stores can only mark up $1.76 per bottle over wholesale costs.

State laws may impose other regulations to ensure that sales tax is collected and paid on time. Some states don’t allow sellers to participate in gift card programs because they don’t want these stores evading alcohol control laws. There are also differences in how state laws can regulate minimum pricing.

Vendor Density Within Your Market

The primary factor you must consider is your business’s location. Some locations may be more profitable than others. For example, if there are a lot of liquor stores nearby, it might be difficult for you to stand on par with your competitors. Therefore, it makes sense to look for an area with enough room for growth but limited competition.

It is better to be located in an area that isn’t very dense and has fewer competing businesses nearby.

Encash On Your USP

People get attracted to something unique. Check out your neighborhood beer and wine stores and list their activities besides selling liquor. Organizing a wine tasting event at a few residential locations will pay you in the long run.

Either use your skills or hire some talent to create tasty cocktail combinations for the residents. There is no looking back if you can delight the residents with your cocktail samples. You will soon see many of them flocking to your liquor shop. This is one of the ways to win over the competition.

You can associate with premium brands and start stocking their products. If you have the right resources and your state permits, you can offer home delivery of premium alcohol. Shortlist a few customers who would be ready to pay extra for such a service. This service will be your pathway to building trust for your liquor brand.


You can employ multiple ways, including utilizing a liquor store POS system, to determine how much profit margin you will earn from a liquor store. It all depends on how well you understand your market and discover ways to manage your competition. You will have to plan your things right. You may execute proven strategies that yield desired results. Keeping your costs low will allow you to earn better profits despite the prevalent price controls and competition.

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Frequently Asked Questions(FAQs)

The profitability of a Liquor Store depends on factors like location, footfalls, pricing strategies, competition, storefront display, and store management.

An average 12% -30% margin is a decent return for a well-run and well-managed Liquor Store. The profit margin also depends on the type of liquor brands you sell.

Consider ballpark, budgetary, and definitive estimates for your Liquor Store. Survey the location of your choice, the average number of visitors, popular and preferred brands, and the distance from your closest liquor store.

Investing in a Liquor Store POS System will fetch you better clarity on “How Much Does a Liquor Store Earn in Profit?”

Estimating how much a Liquor Store owner makes annually in the USA depends on a few factors. An independent liquor store owner would earn between $50,000 to $250,000 per annum, with few stores doing exceptionally great in popularity and revenue generation. When calculating your profits, you must account for your expenses, taxes, license fees, and liabilities.

The operational costs and overall sales performance would be high for a store with decent space in a prime location available to accommodate a continuous flow of visitors. But with efficient management, liquor store owners can achieve their business goals by lowering their expenses and generating excellent revenue.

Approaching business consultants at OVVI allows you to fetch a more accurate estimate on "How Much Does a Liquor Store Owner Make a Year in the USA?"

Considering the ever-growing demand worldwide, owning a liquor store can be profitable, except for the level of profitability a store would attain.

Several factors like competition, efficient store management, location, marketing, brand visibility, and local market conditions impact the performance and profitability of a liquor store.

While average liquor stores earn between 10% to 30% annually, individual stores with top-notch performance would deviate significantly in achieving higher targets and revenues.

Conducting thorough market research, analyzing local competition, and estimating staffing expenses and various operational costs would give you a clear picture of "How Profitable Are Liquor Stores?"

Investing your hard-earned money to start a Liquor Store requires proper planning, research, and a proven strategy to be deployed. You must consider the shop's location and size, Need for renovation, licensing fees, government taxes, inventory costs, branding and advertising expenses, and marketing expenses while calculating your initial investment.

Your initial investment might range from $150,000 to $500,000 or more, depending on the brands you decide to keep in your liquor store. Business consultants suggest keeping adequate funds aside for lease or rent agreements, setting up your store's interior and product display expenses, paying for necessary permits and license fees, purchasing liquor and non-alcoholic products, staff wages, and initial marketing efforts.

The right technology is a great aid for a liquor store business. You can begin by investing in a cloud-based Liquor Store POS System that saves you from the hassles of backups, system updates, and security of your transactions. OVVI's A.I. Powered POS System efficiently manages your inventory and forbids you from piling dead stock items. Ensure having a robust and reliable internet connection to avoid delays, glitches, and transaction bottlenecks.

With proper planning, customized strategies, and superior brand visibility, more visitors would flock to your store, earning you higher revenue and saving you from worrying about "How Much Does It Cost to Open a Liquor Store?"

Earning profits is at the core of every business, and Liquor Stores are no exception.

Consistent demand for alcohol and a steady flow of buyers will make owning a Liquor Store a cherry on the cake. Unlike other retail businesses, liquor stores have superior profit margins because of the actual (dealer) purchase cost and retail product pricing.

Moreover, liquor stores have the advantage of selling additional items like mixers, snacks, and accessories that count towards maximizing your profits.

If all these factors sound too good to be true, consider visiting liquor stores at one of the upmarket locations that catch tourist attention with attractive exteriors and elegant interiors during the festive seasons, are good enough to convince you that “Liquor Stores Do Make Good Profits.”

Despite its size, even a Small Liquor Store Business can earn decent profit margins considering a few facts.

An annually-averaged-out gross margin of 25% to 35% is a decent earning for any small liquor store in a prime location with an acceptable level of competition, controlled operational costs, and well-planned pricing and marketing strategies. Earning profits within this range helps you easily manage expenses like monthly rent, utility bills, employee wages, and inventory costs.

As a Small Liquor Store Business Owner, you must regularly analyze your overheads and store running costs. Check if the tax or license fee slabs have changed or if you have added a new operational expense to your budget. Keep reviewing and amending your pricing and business operation strategies regularly to help you maximize your profitability and easily adapt to new market conditions.

A Liquor Store POS System is your go-to solution if all these processes sound cumbersome. Let your POS do the hard toil while you enjoy reviewing simplified reports.