<img height="1" width="1" style="display:none" src="https://www.facebook.com/tr?id=118821590194430&amp;ev=PageView&amp;noscript=1">

How to Price Drinks in Your Bar

Pricing your drinks can sound like a tricky task at first, especially when adding more complex cocktails to your menu. Homemade syrups, bitters, and different spirits all factor into the delicious drinks you’ve come up with for your menu. They can be delicious, but you can’t pick a random number to price your menu and call it a day. How you price your drinks will reflect in your profits and how your customers view your bar or restaurant. Luckily, we’ve got it down to a science. We’re going to give you a quick and simple way to price your cocktails fairly, allowing you to make a profit without overcharging customers. 

Download Provi's pricing calculator to drive greater profits for your bar. 

Calculating Cost of Cocktails Per Ounce

You’ll need to start the process of pricing your cocktails by accounting for your liquor costs, or the cost of liquor per ounce. It’s best to do this for each type of liquor regardless if it’s in a cocktail you’re using or not. You can use your liquor cost to calculate things like batched cocktails as well, making it easier to price out how much you’ll need. If you want to learn more about how to batch your cocktails, read up on it here

All you have to do to calculate your liquor cost is this:

Bottle Purchase Price / Ounces in Bottle = Liquor Cost (Cost Per Oz)

This is an integral part of pricing your bar menu items in general, even things like shots. Similarly, you can determine the price of non-alcoholic ingredients the same way. If you make house-made syrups, determining how much the amount of sugar, fruit, or herbs you use per syrup costs lets you price that out as well. If you use sugar by grams, determine how many grams per bag you have to get the cost per gram, and so on.

Grow Profits with Provi's Free Calculator Create Profitability as You Crunch Your Beer, Wine & Cocktail Prices with Provi's free pricing calculator  

Calculating Pour Cost

Your pour cost is the amount you charge on top of the liquor cost to keep the lights on and make a profit. This will be entirely up to you based on what you know about your liquor costs. The subjective nature of your pour cost is partially due to the differing needs of every bar. If you were operating in a major city, for example, you have to pay much higher rent and utilities costs to stay open as opposed to a small town bar. 

Pour Cost Effect on Cocktail Prices

Calculating your pour cost ultimately depends on you, however. It’ll be a specified percentage that represents how much you’re paying out of pocket for your drinks. The lower the percentage, the lower your costs. The average pour cost can be anywhere from 18% - 25%, lower being better because that means you’re paying less and making more profit. Again, the amount you end up with is completely contingent on what works best for you and there’s no official standard for this cost.

Industry Insights You'll Savor.   Sip on the latest bev-alc trends and insights, delivered straight to you.

Drink Cost Based on Pour Cost and Liquor Cost

To do the actual calculation, you can start by choosing the percentage you’d like to try. If something seems too expensive or not enough, feel free to change the percentage how you’d like. The formatting looks like this:

Liquor Cost / Pour Cost = Drink Cost

Please note that when dividing with your pour cost, you need to make your pour cost percentage into a decimal. We’ll do a couple of examples below to show the differences in costs: 

Let’s say your liquor cost came out to be $1.25 per ounce and you’d like to do 16% as your liquor cost.

$1.25 / 0.16 = $7.81

On the other end of things, let’s say your liquor costs are $1.25 and you want to try 24% instead.

$1.25 / 0.24 = $5.20

The difficulty lies in the balance between what you can charge and what your customers will pay, so don’t be afraid to try out a few different pricing options before you decide. 

Building a Cocktail Menu Based on Price

For some specialty cocktails, it’s a good idea to have a higher pour cost percentage to prevent high prices on your menu. Having interesting drinks attracts customers to come and try what you have, but they’ll have a harder time actually trying them if they aren’t priced well. Creating a menu with a good mix of mid-priced and higher-priced menu items gives you the luxury of making things accessible to everyone without looking cheap. 

Overall, variety is key when you’re putting together your menu. You should also listen to customer feedback about menu items. It’s not unheard of for customers to complain about pricing every once in a while, but if it becomes a trend, it might be something to look into. 

Track Your Cocktail Menu With Provi

Provi allows you to keep track of your inventory and order new stock all in the same place. You can use Provi’s catalog, featuring thousands of popular options from distributors, and reorder as needed without the hassle of balancing multiple platforms. Placing an order takes as little as 5 minutes, and the best part is you can get started with Provi for free! If you’re interested in seeing how Provi can make running your bar or restaurant easier, make an account today.


Ryan Philemon


Related posts

Search What is Inventory Variance and Why is it Important?
Questions to Ask a Mixologist: Bartender Interview Questions Search