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How to Do Bar Inventory: A Simple Approach

November 22, 2019
BinWise Staff

In order to ensure your bar’s success, managing your bar inventory regularly and accurately is key. Learning how to do bar inventory might not be your favorite thing to do. But not keeping track of what you have in stock and what you sold will prevent you from making smart purchasing decisions. That will only hurt your bar’s profitability. While we're on the subject, if you don't have a bar pos system in place already, now would be a good time to invest in that, too.

In this blog post, we will walk you through how to do liquor inventory using a spreadsheet. We'll cover everything from counting your wine bottles and beer cans at the bar to measuring beer kegs and cases in the stock room.

Using a Bar Inventory Spreadsheet

Start by creating a blank spreadsheet with the following columns:

You can also download this free bar inventory spreadsheet that we have put together for your convenience.

Start Taking Inventory at the Front Bar

If you store your alcohol in more than one location, we recommend starting with the front bar. Then slowly make your way to the back bar and cellar or stock room.

First, write down all your products on the spreadsheet in the order that they are organized at your bar. This will help save time and avoid confusion as you start counting and going through each of them.

Bottles of liquor being systematically counted during bar inventory

When inspecting each bottle to see how much liquid is left inside, we recommend dividing the bottle into ten parts. Then round up to the nearest tenth. For example, if your bottle is halfway full, round it up to either 0.5 or 50% full. For cans and full bottles, count them as single units.

Bottle of liquor divided into 10 parts; using the rule of tenths for liquor inventory

It is important to keep an eye out for spillage and breakage. Take note of it whenever you see it so you can avoid compromising your usage numbers. Simply repeat this process for every bottle at the front bar, including spirits, wine, beer, etc.

Take Your Liquor Inventory at Other Locations

Once you have finished with the front bar, repeat the previous process for your back bar. Then move on to your wine cellar, stock room, and any other locations where you store your alcohol. Make sure to either create a separate column or note which storage area that you are taking inventory in your spreadsheet to avoid confusion.

Most likely, your products will come in either kegs or cases. For kegs, we recommend weighing it with a scale then writing down the weight in your spreadsheet or converting it to a percentage number.

If you have a case of liquor bottles or beer cans, simply count the number of individual units that each case contains. Make sure to count full cases and stray cans or bottles.

If you sell wine by the bottle instead, count the full bottles and combine them with cases for quicker inventory. If you sell wine by the glass, it is best to use the dividing-into-ten-parts method that we previously mentioned. That'll get you the most accurate measurement.

Once you have counted all your products, you can add up the totals from each storage area to calculate total inventory.

Make sure to keep track of products that you receive from your distributors in between inventory periods. That will be necessary when you need to figure out your bar’s inventory usage later on. For a full step-by-step of calculating inventory usage with detailed examples, check out our blog post about how to calculate inventory usage.

Take Your Second Inventory

When you take a second inventory, whether in a week, two weeks, or a month, simply repeat those steps. Just use a new spreadsheet.

Keep in mind that consistency is key in taking inventory. Let's say you take your inventory from front to back, left to right. Make sure to repeat that same beverage order when you take your next inventory.

How Often Should a Bar Take Inventory?

We recommend doing inventory every week for the most accurate numbers. Whatever you do, try not to go a month without taking liquor inventory.

How Do You Calculate Inventory Quickly?

Bars and restaurants can take inventory quickly using bar inventory software.

While the process might seem like a simple task with only adding and subtracting numbers, taking bar inventory manually takes a lot of time. Time that can be spent doing other things to improve your business, especially if you have a large selection on offer.

On top of that, any mistakes made during the manual counting and recording process can result in serious financial consequences. Therefore, we recommend seeking out a wine cellar app and liquor inventory system like BinWise Pro, that can help automate and speed up the inventory process, while eliminating counting errors.

And That’s How to Take Inventory!

Contact us to learn more about how BinWise Pro can help. You’ll save time, avoid mistakes, do inventory faster, and calculate your bar’s usage within a few minutes.