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Should Your Business Start Selling Alcohol?

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bartender pouring drink

It’s no secret that people drink. Now more than ever, in fact. As a result, many food business owners wonder if they should start selling alcohol. With its ever-rising popularity, it stands to reason that they could make some good money from it, right?

Well, it’s true that selling alcohol can be a financial opportunity, but there are also a few things you should consider before adding it to your menu. The truth is there are many advantages and disadvantages to selling alcohol, and you should thoroughly consider both before making a decision.

In this article, we’ll help you along the decision making process by sharing some benefits and risks associated with selling alcohol and how you can financially protect yourself with liquor liability insurance if you decide to give selling a shot (a shot… get it?).


Here are just a few of the benefits that selling alcohol can provide.


As mentioned before, one of the greatest benefits of selling alcohol is the revenue it can create. For many businesses, it’s not uncommon for alcohol to constitute the lion’s share of sales. This is because alcohol can have large markups for prices—up to four times the wholesale cost depending on the state—so you can easily make a profit after only selling a few drinks.

Alcohol also provides great upsell opportunities for staff—customers are more likely to order another glass of wine than another 16oz steak, after all—and because it has such a long shelf life, you’ll almost never have to toss an expired bottle.


Many people like to have a nice drink with their meal, and when it comes to eating out, they may overlook your business simply because you did not have any alcoholic options. By choosing to sell alcohol, especially during the golden hours between 5:00 PM and 8:00 PM, you may be able to attract more customers who otherwise might not have come to your business.


Another opportunity selling alcohol provides is becoming known for a product or service that keeps customers coming back for more. There are many things a business can do to set itself apart, and when it comes to creating that wonderful “je ne sais quois” the sky’s the limit!

Some businesses serve custom cocktails and specialty drinks. Others partner with local microbreweries or distilleries to provide customers with delicious, local beverages. Whatever you decide to do, if your business can become known locally as the only place to get that one awesome thing, you can generate a solid group of new and repeat customers that can keep your business afloat for years.


Selling alcohol can be a great business opportunity, but it is also a huge responsibility that can have serious financial and legal consequences. Here are just a couple of the disadvantages your business might face if you decide to sell or serve alcohol.


In order to sell, serve, or furnish alcohol, your business will first have to acquire a liquor license and comply with national and state liquor laws. Many liquor laws, like dram shop laws, vary drastically by state, so it’s important to be aware of what your state requires to sell liquor. In most cases, failure to comply with these regulations can bring serious legal and financial consequences for business.


If your business starts selling or serving alcohol, it’s important to know that you may be held liable to pay for accidents and damages caused by the people you serve. Depending on your state, if one of your patrons injures themselves, or goes on to cause an accident, your business may face a liquor liability claim.

The cost of liquor liability claims vary by incident, but it’s not uncommon for claims of this nature to cost a business hundreds of thousands of dollars, especially in cases concerning death or serious injury.


If, after looking at the opportunities and risks associated with selling alcohol, you’re worried about the cost of liquor liability claims, you’ll be happy to know that it’s absolutely possible to protect your business from the out of pocket cost of claims. The way to protect your business is by insuring it with liquor liability insurance.

Liquor liability insurance is designed to protect alcohol-serving businesses from the out-of-pocket cost of liquor liability claims. It can mitigate and even eliminate the price your business may be required to pay if someone you served alcohol to injures themselves or causes an accident. It creates a financial safety net for your business and provides peace of mind.

The cost of liquor insurance varies by state, but if you’re not quite ready to commit to a large liability insurance budget, don’t worry. Insurance Canopy offers the perfect insurance solution for your business. Our liquor liability insurance plan is comprehensive, affordable, and takes less than ten minutes to get covered.


Hopefully this article has helped you gain a better understanding of some of the opportunities and risks associated with selling alcohol. At the end of the day, it’s up to you to decide whether it’s worth it for your business, but if you do decide to give it a try, know that Insurance Canopy is here to help you protect yourself from the cost of claims.


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