How to Start a Small Liquor Store

7 min read

How to Start a Small Liquor Store

Starting your own liquor store presents a set of challenges that you would not encounter when starting other businesses. First, the competition will be stiff and you will have limited access to discounts, which will have an effect on your pricing. The best solution is to focus on quality service and specialty products.

Here are some tips for starting your own liquor store:

Have a Distinctive Selling Point

A small liquor store does not enjoy the same volume sales that larger retailers do. This means that you cannot order enough to enjoy large discounts. To offset this, you have to either sell at higher prices or offer unique products.

Do you want to stock excellent wines at affordable prices or unique beers? You can also offer a mix of products and build the reputation of your business on knowledgeable staff and amazing customer service.

Obtain Licensing

You will need to have a license to open a liquor store. If you live in the state of Texas, you should visit sites such as Monshaugen & Van Huff, P.C. to hire a lawyer who can obtain the license on your behalf. In some places, you will only have to meet the qualifying criteria to obtain a license.

Liquor Store

However, in other states, liquor stores operate under strict rules. Most liquor licenses restrict the hours you can open your business, which will affect your bottom line.  Before you get too deep into the business plan, you should hire lawyers from firms like Holtz Law to help you with your liquor business.

Consider the Location

Before you start looking at business premises, you should find out if there are zoning restrictions and city laws that will affect your business. For instance, some cities do not allow liquor to be sold near learning institutions, hospitals, and churches. You also need to consider how far your customers will have to walk to get to your store. Opt for a location that is close to where people run errands.

Consider the Capital

In theory, depending on your inventory, rent, payroll, and location, you can open a liquor store with as little as 20,000 dollars. However, when it comes to opening the actual liquor store, you will find that you need much more capital. Having a solid business plan will help you to secure funds for capital. Therefore, you should research the inventory, licensing, and leasing costs before you look for capital.



If there are no local restrictions that apply to alcohol advertising, you can start advertising in the local dailies and on TV. Are you active on social media? You can use your social platform to spread the word to the locals about your grand opening. You can even plan a tasting event to lure customers.

To make your first sales, you should consider offering discounts on the items that you feature. Offering discounts will help you to build a loyal customer base.

Keep an Eye on Inventory

This is going to be your biggest expense. If you go overboard with your inventory shopping, you might end up with millions of dollars worth of liquor on your shelves. Your inventory should be determined by the kind of customers you want to attract and your budget. In the early stages, you should stick to products that will sell quickly.

When you see some cash flow, you can expand your inventory. You should buy your liquor from a state-approved wholesaler.


The above guide will help you to open a liquor store. You should make sure that you have enough capital to start a liquor store. Otherwise, your business will not take off.

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