Opening a beer store is a great way to get into the beverage industry. There are many things to consider before opening up a shop.
Here are the 10 steps you can take to get started on building your very own beer store business.
10 Steps to Launching a New Beer Store Business
1. Choose Your Type of Beer Store Business
The first step in launching a beer store business is to identify the type of beer store business you want to launch. You might choose from the following types among others:
- Specialty Beer Store: This type of store specializes in a certain kind of beer, such as local craft beer, imported beer, gluten-free beer, etc.
- Online Beer Store: An online store allows customers to purchase beer from the comfort of their own homes.
- Microbrewery and Taproom: A microbrewery and taproom combo offers customers the ability to drink beer on site, as well as take-home growlers and cans of their favorite brews.
2. Name Your Beer Store Business
Give your beer store business an identity so people will think of it as a well-known and respected brand. You can take the name of your beer store business from your industry, focus on a geographical location, or use your own name among other options.
The main goal for naming your beer store business is to make it sound appealing and trustworthy so customers will want to visit your store.
3. Determine Your Beer Store Business Model
There are several possible types of business models for a beer store business including:
- Retail Store: A retail store is the most common type of beer store business. In this model, customers come into the store to purchase beer, which is then sold to them at a marked-up price.
- Online Store: An online store is similar to a retail store, but customers purchase beer online instead of in person. This model allows customers to purchase beer from the comfort of their own homes and have it delivered to them.
- Microbrewery and Taproom: A microbrewery and taproom offer customers the ability to drink beer on site, as well as take-home growlers and cans of their favorite brews.
No matter which model you choose, make sure that it aligns with your business goals and the products you offer.
Read more about choosing the right business model for your beer store business.
4. Choose a Legal Form for Your Business
By incorporating your beer store business, you will limit your liability. You can incorporate as a Limited Liability Company (LLC), a C Corporation (C-Corp), or an S Corporation (S-Corp). Or you can operate as a sole proprietorship.
The business structure you choose for your beer store business will determine the amount of taxes you pay and which state or federal tax forms you need to file.
Read our article comparing the most common beer store business structures.
5. Write a Beer Store Business Plan
All beer store business owners should develop a business plan.
A business plan is a document that outlines the goals, strategies, and operations of a business. It can be used to secure funding from investors or lenders, as well as to guide the day-to-day operations of the business. The business plan should include information on the company’s products or services, market analysis, financial projections, and management team among other things.
When developing your beer store business plan and strategy, you should think about the following questions your customers might have:
- What type of beer do you offer?
- How much does a pint cost?
- Where are you located?
- Do you serve any food?
- Are you open late?
- Do you serve cocktails or wine?
- What kind of events do you host/sponsor?
- What are your store hours?
Answering these questions will give you a better understanding of what customers want from your beer store business and how you can provide it to them.
Read our article about how to write a beer store business plan.
6. Apply for the Necessary Permits and Licenses
There may be required licenses and permits you need to obtain before launching your beer store business.
For example, if you plan to sell alcohol, you will need to apply for a liquor license. The type of license you need will depend on the state in which your business is located.
You must also register your beer store business as a legal entity with the state where you plan to do business. You can simply file an online form through your Secretary of State website.
Registering with the federal government is also essential so you can properly pay taxes for your business. You will also need an Employer Identification Number (EIN), which you can apply for at the IRS website, if you plan to hire employees.
Read our article about obtaining the proper beer store business licenses.
7. Determine Your Budget & Apply for Funding as Needed
In developing your beer store business plan, you will figure out how much funding you need to start and grow your business.
If you have your own funds to invest in your beer store business, you may consider taking advantage of that. In addition to your personal funds, other forms of potential funding for your beer store business include traditional bank loans, SBA loans, credit cards, angel investors and family and friends.
Read our article about the costs associated with starting a beer store business to help you determine if funding is needed.
8. Get the Technology & Software Needed to Run Your Business Efficiently
When you start your beer store business, it’s essential to have the right technology in place to maximize efficiency. You definitely need a computer with Internet access, and accounting software for tracking expenses and revenues.
You may also want to invest in point of sale (POS) software, which will streamline the process of sales and inventory. Other helpful software programs include customer relationship management (CRM) software and project management software.
9. Market Your Beer Store Business to Potential Customers
Before you start selling your products, you have to let the world know you exist. The first step is to create a website so people can learn more about your products and how they benefit them.
After you launch your website, start promoting it through social media channels like Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter. Also consider networking with other people in the beer store industry through social media and blogs so they can help share your business.
You also need to start gathering the materials needed to execute on your promotions strategy, which is your strategy for attracting new customers. Beer store businesses should consider the following promotional strategies for which you should start getting prepared:
- Sponsoring local events: Events are a great opportunity for a beer store to get in front of potential customers. Sponsoring a local event, such as a food festival or music concert, will help reach potential customers.
- Offering free samples: Sampling is a great way for potential customers to try products before making a purchase.
- Creating a loyalty program: A loyalty program encourages return customers by offering special rewards.
- Sending out direct mail: Direct mail can be an effective way to reach potential customers in your target market.
- Advertising in local publications: Ads can reach potential customers in newspapers, magazines and online directories.
Executing these promotional strategies will help attract new customers and grow your beer store business.
Read our article about how to market your beer store business for more tips.
10. Get New Customers & Grow Your Business
When you promote your products, you’ll start to get interest from potential customers.
Make sure you’re ready to serve these customers. Also, be sure to establish systems to ensure consistency and reduce costs. And be sure to find and train the right people to help you grow your beer store business.
Read our article about how to effectively grow your beer store business to learn more.
Starting a Beer Store Business FAQs
The beer store industry is growing rapidly and there’s a lot of opportunity for entrepreneurs who are looking to start your own businesses. A beer store business offers the potential for high profits, and it’s a great way to be your own boss and have control over your own destiny.
To start a successful beer store business, you need to have a passion for the product and industry, as well as the drive to succeed. You also need to be able to find the right location, obtain the necessary licenses and permits, and stock your shelves with products that people want to buy.
There are a number of ways you can market your beer store business online. You can start by creating a website and promoting it through social media channels, such as Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter. You can also consider networking with other people in the industry through social media and blogs so they can help share your business.
If you’re thinking about starting a beer store business, here are a few tips to keep in mind:
Find the right location: Choose a place that’s convenient for customers and has enough space to accommodate your products and equipment.
Obtain the necessary licenses and permits: Research the requirements in your state and obtain the proper licenses and permits before you open for business.
Stock your shelves with products: Stock your shelves with popular or favorite items of customers in your area.
Promote your business: Promote your business online via social media, through your website, and offline through advertising and word-of-mouth.
Get new customers and grow your business: When you start promoting your business, you’ll get interest from potential customers. Make sure you’re ready to serve these customers and grow your business.
A simple checklist to use when starting a beer store business is as follows:
- Choose Your Type of Beer Store: This should be based on what you are best at and how much experience you have. Remember to keep your interests, skills, and experience in mind at all times.
- Name Your Beer Store Business: This should be done with care, as your brand is important for attracting the right customers. A simple, memorable name will go a long way.
- Choose a Legal Form for Your Business: Whether you choose to become a sole proprietorship, partnership, LLC, corporation or another option will depend on your business. Ensure that you are aware of all the implications of each type.
- Determine Your Beer Store Business Model: Determine how your business will make money. Will you sell products, services, or a combination of both?
- Write a Beer Store Business Plan: Your business plan will also help you determine what your start-up costs will be and will provide a roadmap with which you can launch and grow.
- Apply for the Necessary Permits and Licenses: In most locations you will be required to apply for a business license and/or permits before you can begin operations.
- Determine Your Budget & Apply for Funding as Needed: You will need to know how much money you have to spend on all of your business-related expenses before opening any doors. If needed, apply for a small business loan or other funding options.
- Get the Technology & Software Needed to Run Your Business Efficiently: You need to have the right tools in place to succeed. Implement software that will help you manage your time, contacts, and business operations in general.
- Market Your Beer Store Business to Potential Customers: A solid marketing plan will be crucial to your success. It should focus on attracting the right customers so that you can provide them with the products they truly need.
- Get Customers & Grow Your Business: Once you have a solid marketing plan, it's time to actively pursue and secure those who could benefit the most from your products.
Opening a beer store can be a very profitable business if done correctly. The steps to do this successfully are outlined here; including choosing the right type of store, getting the necessary licenses and permits, and stocking your shelves with popular items. With a little planning and effort, you’re on your way to owning a successful beer store business.