Effective Strategies for Managing Beverage Inventory for Venue Owners

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Effective inventory management in the food and beverage industries is essential to keeping track of available products. Whether you own a bar, restaurant, or general business with food and beverage options, consider which beverage inventory systems work well for you and stick with a consistent management strategy.

What Is Beverage Inventory?

Beverage inventory involves taking an account or measurement of every beverage in your business, from the number of sodas and juices to the amount of liquor left in bottles. When taking inventory, you and your employees will count every product once and again over time, then use that information to calculate inventory usage.

Inventory usage refers to how much of your products have been used over time. For example, you might calculate the number of units sold to determine how many bottles you’ve used over a specific time, such as two weeks or four months. Your inventory usage rate is helpful when calculating how much of a product might be available at particular periods.

How to Complete Beverage Inventory

Completing beverage inventory is especially helpful for a business that handles a large number of orders every day. If you are wondering how to do beverage inventory, follow these steps.

1. Plan for Completing Inventory

Make a plan for your inventory checks and include the following information:

  • Where are your beverages and alcohol stored? This knowledge will ensure you don’t miss any inventory.
  • In what order will you complete each area? Having an order to follow prevents you from overlooking an area and keeps your inventory list organized.
  • What information about your beverages will you record? You might write down your drinks’ type, format, brand name, and the current volume of your drinks.
  • How often will you inventory your beverages and alcohol? Determine a cadence that works best for your operations.

2. Make a First Count

Begin by counting out your beverages and keeping an accurate record. While you can do this manually, it’s faster and easier to have an automated system, like an inventory scanner or beverage platform, which can accurately keep track of beverage numbers. Start toward the front of your business and work your way backward. For example, if you have a bar, you can begin there and then move into the kitchen, fridges, freezers, and storage rooms.

When measuring liquor and alcohol, consider helpful measurement tactics like tenthing. During tenthing, you can write decimal points using estimations of how many tenths of a bottle is filled with liquid. Depending on how much of the alcohol is left, you can decide whether to continue using it or place an order for more.

After taking measurements at the bar, move to the kitchen and storage rooms. A map or flowchart can be more helpful in storage areas where a significant amount of beverages complicates keeping track of numbers. After you have an accurate count, you can start your calculations again.

3. Make a Second Count

Complete all steps of inventory over again if it’s efficient to do so. This ensures you have the most accurate number and allows you to rectify any mistakes made during the first counting. It would be best to make a first and second inventory count every few weeks to keep up with inventory changes. After ending your counting, you can move on to inventory usage calculations.

4. Calculate Inventory Usage


To calculate inventory usage, have starting, ending, and received inventory information. You must gather invoices and add the number of acquired products, which is often easier with bar management software.

Once you have an accurate number for all three inventories, use the data to find your usage rates. Usage rates are the amount of beverage your business consumes depending on your weekly or monthly inventory checks. For example, you might use more beer during the first two weeks of June and more cider during the first month of fall.

5. Calculate Pour Cost, Variance, and PAR Level

Usage rates help your business determine periodic automatic replacement (PAR) levels, variance and pour costs, which help you make informed decisions about product usage, prices, and purchases.

  • PAR level: Your PAR level is the reorder point of inventory usage. It helps you calculate the minimum amount of beverages needed to optimize shelf space and reduce carrying costs. Your PAR level number lets you determine when to place new orders for replenished stock.
  • Variance: The variance amount determines how much product has been sold compared to the amount already used. Some alcohols may have a higher variance than others, and this information helps you reduce inventory shrinkage, prevent theft, and stop overpours.
  • Pour cost: Your pour cost is a calculation to determine the percentage of the drink’s selling price versus the cost of purchasing the drink ingredients. Lower pour cost numbers are better, and calculations allow you to see the most and least profitable drinks.

Methods of Taking Inventory of Beverages

One of the most effective methods for taking inventory of beverages is to use a spreadsheet. While you can manually input information, bar management software is easier and faster, which helps you automate your processes and connects seamlessly with your point-of-sale (POS), cost, inventory, and order systems.

The spreadsheet method will help you prevent food and beverage industry waste while determining popular drinks with real-time data. Make informed decisions at every step by using automation and accurate tracking systems.

Divide your spreadsheet into the following columns and rows:

  • Starting inventory column
  • Received inventory column
  • Ending inventory column
  • Alcohol-type row
  • Brand row
  • Name row
  • Bottle size row

Keeping track of this information allows your business to determine accurate drink prices. You can also use the data to record spills, breakage, or comped bottles. Determine which drinks are best sellers and create effective marketing strategies.

Use PourMyBeer for Self-Pour Drinks and Inventory

PourMyBeer offers a unique and innovative solution to beverage inventory and management. With self-pour options and automated inventory, you can reduce waste, increase profit and effectively track products.

PourMyBeer offers products, services, and technology that allow customers to select and pour drinks themselves without needing extra employees or long wait lines. Our solutions are highly flexible and help businesses save space and resources for other areas of their company.

Some other benefits of using self-pour technology include:

  • High ROI: Self-pour technology allows you to serve more drinks to customers. It also eliminates the need for extra staff, saving you money on labor.
  • Improved experience: The customer experience is improved with self-pour technology. It is both interactive and fun.
  • Fast service: You can serve customers more quickly by allowing them to help themselves. It reduces lines and wait times.
  • Real-time management: Manage your inventory in real-time with self-pour technology. Use data to see what’s running low and what’s still available.
  • Flexible model: Our technology can be customized to fit your business needs and specific spaces.

PourMyBeer Integrates With Your POS to Track Inventory and Sales

PourMyBeer self-pour technology can seamlessly integrate with your point-of-sales system while helping you track inventory and sales at all times. Our options can pair with popular integrations such as Toast, Clover, GoTab, and Untappd. PourMyBeer technology allows customers to serve themselves beer, wine, cocktails, coffee, or kombucha while increasing sales for your business. Reach out to us today with questions or request a quote online!

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Building 20, Suite 100
Ambler, PA 19002

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