How to Start a Liquor Store

If you want to start a liquor store, the first thing you must know is that this is not a conventional type of business. There are implications that go beyond the typical need for supplies, inventory and such.

Opening a Liquor Store: Legal Issues

Before you become a liquor store owner, you should be aware of the fact that alcohol consumption is a sensitive subject. As a result, laws regarding alcoholic beverage control vary widely. It is your duty to either hire a lawyer that will take care of the necessary paperwork or research local liquor restrictions on your own.

In case you choose the second option, you can start your research by going to your favorite search engine and typing phrases like “liquor authority,” “liquor commission,” or “alcoholic beverage control,” followed by the name of the state and/or city where you are opening a liquor store. For example, if you live in New Hampshire, you will find links to the NH Liquor Commission; that Web site will be your starting point.

You may find that dealing with all the federal, state, city and county restrictions regarding the opening of liquor stores is an overwhelming task. This is why you should consider hiring a lawyer. This professional will work to ensure that your business will comply with any and all regulations, so you won’t have to face any legal issues when you start a liquor store.

Open a Liquor Store: Franchises and Other Options

One of the decisions you must make when you want to start a liquor store concerns the kind of business you should run. Should you buy a franchise? Or should you open your own liquor store? Is it a good idea to buy an existing liquor store?

The main advantage to buying a liquor store franchise is that you will get access to a well-established business model, complete with a list of liquor suppliers. However, franchises tend to be expensive.

Starting a brand new liquor store will give you the chance to run your business the way you want. The problem is that you won’t have any sort of system to support you, as would be the case if you purchased a liquor store franchise.

Buying an existing liquor store may be a good idea if you want to rely on an already established customer base. Nonetheless, you must verify the reasons why the liquor store owner wants to sell his business before you take any further steps.

Starting a Liquor Store: Equipment and Inventory

Here are some of the supplies and equipment you will need when you start a liquor store:

  • Computers
  • A checkout system
  • Bar code and credit card scanners
  • Receipt printers
  • Shelves
  • Coolers
  • A security system
  • Liquor inventory

An important note concerning the latter item: don’t forget to verify if your liquor suppliers are actually licensed to sell alcoholic beverage. This is yet one more reason why you may want to hire a lawyer.

Opening a liquor store may not be the easiest of all tasks. However, the proven profitability of this business model compensates all the hard work it requires.


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