Starting a beer bar can be a lucrative and enjoyable business venture. There are many things to consider when starting a beer bar, from the type of beer you want to serve to the layout of your establishment.
Here are the 10 steps you can take to get started on building your very own beer bar business.
10 Steps to Launching a New Beer Bar Business
1. Choose Your Type of Beer Bar Business
The first step in launching a beer bar business is to identify the type of beer bar business you want to launch. You might choose from the following types among others:
- Brewpub: A brewpub is a restaurant that brews its own beer on the premises.
- Microbrewery: A microbrewery is a small, independently owned brewery that produces a limited amount of beer.
- Bar and Grill: A bar and grill is a casual eatery that serves beer and burgers or sandwiches.
- Cigar Bar: A cigar bar is an upscale establishment that specializes in cigars and often has a humidor on site.
2. Name Your Beer Bar Business
Give your beer bar business an identity so people will think of it as a well-known and respected brand. You can take the name of your beer bar business from your industry, focus on a geographical location, or use your own name among other options.
The main goal for naming your beer bar business is to make it sound appealing and trustworthy so customers will visit your establishment.
3. Determine Your Beer Bar Business Model
There are several possible types of business models for a beer bar business including:
- Brewery Taproom: A brewery taproom is a small bar or tasting room located within a working brewery where people visit to drink beer brewed on site.
- Bar Franchise: A bar franchise is an agreement between two parties in which the franchisor (the owner of the business concept) licenses their bar business model to the franchisee (the person or entity operating the bar franchise).
- Beer Cart: A beer cart is a mobile bar that can be set up at various locations, such as festivals, sporting events, and private parties.
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 bar business.
4. Choose a Legal Form for Your Business
By incorporating your beer bar 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 bar 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 bar business structures.
5. Write a Beer Bar Business Plan
All beer bar 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 bar business plan and strategy, you should think about the following questions your customers might have:
- What type of beer bar business should I start?
- How can I make my beer bar business stand out?
- How do I choose the right business model for my beer bar?
- Do I need a liquor license to open a beer bar?
- What are the liabilities of owning a beer bar business?
If you can answer these questions, you’re well on your way to writing a great business plan for your beer bar business.
Read our article about how to write a beer bar 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 bar business.
For example, if you want to serve alcohol at your bar, you will need to apply for a liquor license from the state Alcoholic Beverage Control Board (ABC) in the state where your business is located. The application process and fees vary by state.
You must also register your beer bar 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 bar business licenses.
7. Determine Your Budget & Apply for Funding as Needed
In developing your beer bar 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 bar business, you may consider taking advantage of that. In addition to your personal funds, other forms of potential funding for your beer bar 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 bar 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 bar 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 bar management software, which can help with tasks, such as inventory management and point-of-sale (POS) transactions.
In addition, consider using social media to market your business. Platforms like Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram are great ways to reach potential customers and build a following for your beer bar business.
9. Market Your Beer Bar 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 bar 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 bar businesses should consider the following promotional strategies for which you should start getting prepared:
- Create a customer loyalty program to reward customers for frequent visits.
- Host beer tastings and beer education events to introduce people to new beers.
- Sponsor or participate in local charity events.
- Collaborate with local restaurants, bars, and stores to cross-promote each other.
- Get involved with local beer festivals and trade shows.
- Give away branded merchandise (t-shirts, coasters) to customers and potential customers.
- Offer discounts and coupons to customers via website or social media channels.
- Run targeted online ads on Google, Facebook, and Twitter.
- Invest in search engine optimization (SEO) for your website so people can find you when they search online for beer bars in your area.
- Create informative blog content about beer trends and tips for enjoying beer.
Read our article about how to market your beer bar 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 bar business.
Read our article about how to effectively grow your beer bar business to learn more.
Starting a Beer Bar Business FAQs
There are many reasons to start a beer bar business. If you’re passionate about beer and want to share your love of beer with others, then owning a beer bar could be a great business for you. Beer bars can also be profitable businesses, as they typically have high margins. And if you start a successful beer bar business, you could have the opportunity to open additional locations.
To start a successful beer bar business, you need to have a strong understanding of the beer industry and trends. You also need to be able to market your business effectively so people are aware of your products and services. Additionally, it’s important to have systems in place to ensure consistency and quality control. Finally, you need to find and train the right people to help you grow your business.
To market your beer bar business online, you should start by creating a website. After launching your website, start promoting it through social media channels like Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter. Also, consider networking with other people in the beer bar industry through social media and blogs so they can help share your business. Additionally, you should invest in search engine optimization (SEO) for your website so people can find you when they search online for beer bars in your area. Finally, create informative blog content about the beer industry, beer trends, and tips for enjoying beer.
Here are 10 tips for starting a beer bar business:
- Have a strong understanding of the beer industry and trends.
- Develop a marketing plan to promote your products and services.
- Create a website and promote it through social media and other channels.
- Invest in search engine optimization (SEO) for your website.
- Write blog content about the beer industry, beer trends, and tips for enjoying beer.
- Find and train the right people to help you grow your business.
- Establish systems to ensure consistency and quality control.
- Have a strong understanding of the competition in your area.
- Offer discounts and coupons to customers via your website or social media channels.
- Run targeted online ads on Google, Facebook, and Twitter.
A simple checklist to use when starting a beer bar business is as follows:
- Choose Your Type of Beer Bar: 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 Bar 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 Bar Business Model: Determine how your business will make money. Will you sell products, services, or a combination of both?
- Write a Beer Bar 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 Bar 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.
Starting a beer bar can be a great way to enter the hospitality industry. By following these tips, you can set up your beer bar for success. Remember to have a strong understanding of the beer industry, develop a marketing plan, and offer discounts and coupons to customers. With the right tools and strategies in place, you can build a profitable beer bar business.