Liquor license

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Do many of you have a liquor license? I'm looking at a wine and beer license and wanted to know thoughts on the group. Revenue stream? 




Innkeep's picture

Indiana has very archaic liquor laws. When I last checked, I was told by a revenuer that in order to apply for a license, any hospitality property needed to have at least 25 rooms.

I spoke to the president of the IBBA who did not want to pursue changing the law because he was worried that the legislature might want to require all properties to have sprinklers. Whaaaat??!

This is the environment I live in. So I send my guests to the winery in town, and when I’m lucky they bring back a bottle and share it with me! I provide the cheese and crackers.

There is really a great divide between touristy and non touristy places. I’m glad that I went into innkeeping for my mental health and not to make a living. 

JimBoone's picture

Innkeep wrote:

I’m glad that I went into innkeeping for my mental health and not to make a living. 

Hopefully we make a living in the sense that the business provides our food and lodging, but I share that thought that we are here doing this because we enjoy the people and serving them.


Jim & Maxine


PhineasSwann's picture

We have had a wine & beer license since we opened the place. 

It's an excellent source of add-on revenue, as you can usually mark up the price from 75-100%. A couple of things to keep in mind:

> Legal - States have a slew of regulations you'll be expected to follow. Don't mess up or it can get expensive very quickly.

> Serving - How will you serve? Will you have a bar? Will you be on call to provide beer/wine? Will your state allow you to utilize some type of minibar setup in the rooms?

> Licensing/Training - Everyone on your staff will have to be trained and licensed to serve. 

> Refusing service - Plan on how you'll deal with telling an inebriated guest he/she cannot have another beer. Also rehearse how you're going to tell parents you're not allowed to serve their underaged kids even if they say it's OK.

> Inventory - If you're catering to wine drinkers, you'll need to make sure you have at least one of each type of wine (chablis, cabernet, merlot, pinot grigio, etc.) That can be tough to keep up with. Likewise with beer. You'll need everything from craft IPAs to BudLight to Porters. 

> Selectivity - This is where I think you can help yourself. Don't carry a single wine your guests can go down to the corner store and buy. Because they'll compare prices and you'll be more. Carry select wines they can't find at the grocery but that are really, really good. 

Price - I recommend having all your price points at between $10-20 per bottle. Beers can vary from $2-3 for a bottle up to $7 for a super-hard-to-find craft brew. 

> Per Glass- Are you going to offer wine by the glass? How much will a glass be? How big? How will you store and preserve opened bottles?

> Extra sales - Don't miss opportunities for extra sales. Mimosas with breakfast, anyone?

> Liquor - Hard liquor opens up a whole new range of issues. We got a full license this year because we had two weddings that wanted a full bar. Without a bar in the place, we really haven't been able to monetize. You have the same inventory challenges (gotta have gin, vodka, scotch, bourbon, tequila - what else? How many brands? Then you have to stock mixers. It's a conundrum we're still working though. 

Good luck. It's worth it, but it adds a lot of extra work. 


Innkeeper & Owner


gillumhouse's picture

I went so far as to get the form to get a beer/wine license in WV as it was only $125 per year.

Never filled it out as I had to show the designated secure storage area (and would have to be able to show that to inspectors whenever). I had no secure area on the B & B side of the house and am not subjecting my personal space to inspection. Not worth it.

My thought for doing it was to offer a glass of wine and hope to sell a bottle. Most guests just bring their own.

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