Estimating liquor needs

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watchyourfeet
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Estimating liquor needs

Post by watchyourfeet » Tue Feb 17, 2015 12:38 pm

My camp is doing a public bar for the first time this year. It will be a fairly small bar with a roughly 10x16' shaded area. We will be pre-making drinks in jugs and we will have two different drinks per day. The bar hours will be 12pm-6pm generally. At this point we are having trouble figuring out exactly how much drink we will end up providing. I realize every bar is different and it depends on location but can anyone offer some insight to help us get a rough idea of how many people we will serve? We are shooting for the 3:00 area between E and G. People in our camp have suggested anywhere from 100-200 drinks per day but I have no idea if that is way overkill or not enough. Thanks!

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mudpuppy000
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Re: Estimating liquor needs

Post by mudpuppy000 » Tue Feb 17, 2015 1:43 pm

It really depends on where you are and how much traffic is going through that area. Also, how inviting is your bar going to be? Are people going to want to hang out all day and drink all your booze, or just grab a drink, chat for a bit then walk on?

For our beer bar we serve around 300 pints per day so we plan on 2 kegs, and some homebrew, but that's a fairly high traffic area. We sort of try to go big towards the beginning of the week and taper off later if we start running low on stuff. Worst thing would be to have to bring home beer that people didn't drink.

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trilobyte
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Re: Estimating liquor needs

Post by trilobyte » Tue Feb 17, 2015 1:47 pm

Pre-making drinks may mean that you would be responsible for a Nevada Health permit (that would depend on what the drink consists of). Generally speaking, powdered or shelf-stable mixers don't usually require a permit, but once you're adding things like fruit or juice that requires refrigeration or anything at all that can go bad, you'd need a health permit. That's not hard to get, it just requires some planning and understanding food safety. The Nevada Health Dept. site can be found here, and you should reach out to Ellen Kunz (775) 623-6588 or email ekunz@health.nv.gov

If a health permit does end up being required, then any pre-made stuff needs to be done in a commercial kitchen, if I remember correctly. The health department folks can fill you in on those details, they're happy to help with planning.

As for amounts of booze to bring, that depends on way too many factors to be able to say. Location, hours of operation, amounts of each type of alcohol are required, etc. How appealing or revolting the drink might be is another major factor - something popular and at a prime location, and you could probably go through a couple hundred of them in an hour. If it's some kind of 'dare' drink (tequila and 17 kinds of hot peppers, etc), you might only have a handful of takers a day.

Do a bit of reading of the various threads about bars on this board, there are some great discussions and tips from veterans already there. You may also want to reach out to camps that you know of who ran operations that seemed like they were something similar to what you guys are trying to do. Good luck with your bar!

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Sham
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Re: Estimating liquor needs

Post by Sham » Tue Feb 17, 2015 1:50 pm

As the week goes on and you're running low, you can put a sign up for SEALED bottles to augment your bar. Happy patrons may surprise you. 8)

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Dr Helix
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Re: Estimating liquor needs

Post by Dr Helix » Tue Feb 17, 2015 1:52 pm

I would go in another direction. Plan on how many drinks you want to SERVE each day and just stick to that. Why do you have to figure out what the traffic will bear? If you're done for the day, you're done for the day (or evening). Most of the food serving people do it that way.
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smiffman
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Re: Estimating liquor needs

Post by smiffman » Tue Feb 17, 2015 1:54 pm

I say the more the merrier...


What you don't use can be traded/gifted to another bar/person or persons...

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Lonesomebri
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Re: Estimating liquor needs

Post by Lonesomebri » Tue Feb 17, 2015 1:57 pm

Well.....we set up out at point 3 along the trash fence, the most remote spot in BRC, for about one hour in the middle of the day, with no shade, no music, no notice. In that one hour we went through about a gallon and a half of hard liquor, a gallon of juice, 3 gallons of pre-made margaritas, a 12 pack of soda, over a case of beer and a couple boxes of wine. Oh, and lots of ice. All cleaned out. And when it was gone, we closed shop. Your mileage may vary.
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Eric
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Re: Estimating liquor needs

Post by Eric » Tue Feb 17, 2015 2:06 pm

Dr Helix wrote:I would go in another direction. Plan on how many drinks you want to SERVE each day and just stick to that. Why do you have to figure out what the traffic will bear? If you're done for the day, you're done for the day (or evening). Most of the food serving people do it that way.
If you're not planning to spend thousands on booze, go this route. "Bar opens when the sun is directly overhead, or there-abouts, closes when the booze runs dry". Simplest way to do it, gives you complete control over your budget, takes out variables.
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trilobyte
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Re: Estimating liquor needs

Post by trilobyte » Tue Feb 17, 2015 2:19 pm

That's generally true, though not so much if it's a pre-made drink. Also, if a food permit is involved (for example if it's some kind of rum punch with fruit or fresh juice) you can't donate what you don't use to another bar. The health department temporary/event food permits aren't like the kind of permit a commercial kitchen or restaruant has (one that lets them make and server a wide range of stuff), they're pretty specific. You need to specify what's going to be served, and you need to stick to just those items.

My advice with regards to pre-mixed stuff... spend the next few months trying to figure out whether what you want to serve can be made with shelf-stable stuff (bottled juices, powdered mixers, etc). If at all possible, go that route. And then figure out a large-ish scale batch that you can make... ON THE DAY. That way, you're traveling out to the playa with bottles of booze, mixers, etc. which can be gifted or shared or whatever if it turns out you got too much. Also, it minimizes (well, eliminates) the need for a health permit. The health department are awesome people to work with (my camp's been doing the permit thing since 2011), but if you don't need it that's one less thing to worry about.

Then get a couple big coolers to use for your drink service. My camp does lemonade, for example. We've got two five-gallon containers that we use. We mix up a batch in container #1 and start service. Depending on the day, we may just do the one batch - but if people are having fun and we want to run it longer, we'll mix up another batch in container #2, and then swap out with container #1 when that one runs out so there's no break in service. Behind the scenes, container #1 then gets washed and put away, or we make another batch if we want to keep on serving. Rinse and repeat as necessary.

Another thing that's worked out well for us - even though it's a 5 gallon container, we mix up 3 gallon batches at a time. That way there's no risk of sloshing over the sides or spilling while things are getting mixed, and there's room to add ice if we want to serve it cold.

Dr. Helix's advice is great, by the way. Figure out an amount to serve that you guys would be happy to serve each day, and set that as your number. Then post your hours as "Noon til we're out" or something along those lines. Once you hit that number, cheer loudly and wrap things up. If your campmates have fun with the experience and don't feel bogged down or burdened too much with running a bar, they'll have more fun with it and probably want to step things up and do more next year.

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lucky420
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Re: Estimating liquor needs

Post by lucky420 » Tue Feb 17, 2015 4:02 pm

Dr Helix wrote:I would go in another direction. Plan on how many drinks you want to SERVE each day and just stick to that. Why do you have to figure out what the traffic will bear? If you're done for the day, you're done for the day (or evening). Most of the food serving people do it that way.

Yep, youre not going to be able to serve everyone anyways. The old adage "bring enough for everyone" doesnt apply to the playa...


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watchyourfeet
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Re: Estimating liquor needs

Post by watchyourfeet » Tue Feb 17, 2015 4:18 pm

Thanks for the advise guys! I guess we'll just set a budget that we're comfortable with and go from there.

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Re: Estimating liquor needs

Post by LowePro » Tue Feb 17, 2015 5:05 pm

Hi there, my 2 cents, is that 6 hours a day is a long time to run the bar, esp if you are going to run it every day and you guys are a small camp. You might get burnt out of staying at camp. Also the city will get busier later in the week and you will likely see more traffic as a result. At our happy hour, we notice that people tend to be flighty--they show up for a drink or two and then move on. Very few people would hang out for hours at a time, there's too much to do. We would bring out about 8-10 bottles of booze and 10 mixers and served until they were gone. That lasted about 3 hours. We were on F street, not in the front lines but close enough to the action and we had a pretty big crowd (100+). It depends on a lot of things, your neighborhood, whether you are "promoting" or heckling people, and how inviting you camp looks and sounds (Music is important). Prepare to be flexible and for plans to change. Figure out how much room you have (booze and mixers take up a lot of space!) and how much you want to spend. That should help you decide how many bottles to allocate for each day. We avoided all the health permit runaround by making our drinks on the playa the day-of, with 2-Liter bottles of mixers.

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jneilvindy
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Re: Estimating liquor needs

Post by jneilvindy » Tue Feb 17, 2015 5:14 pm

More.

Then when you have more.

More.

:coffee:

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Captain Goddammit
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Re: Estimating liquor needs

Post by Captain Goddammit » Tue Feb 17, 2015 6:38 pm

Oddly enough, there's usually plenty of booze and shortages of mixers.
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Re: Estimating liquor needs

Post by mdmf007 » Tue Feb 17, 2015 6:51 pm

Good question. There is no rule set in stone and rememeber that its supposed to be fun so dont over extend yourselves trying to serve everybody. After a few years we found it easy to make a huge batch of some sort of mixed drink in a huge cooler with ice and serve from there as well in addition to whatever we are serving that day. We theme it. Once the good stuff is gone we roll into the coolers - Its cheap, plentiful and makes people happy.

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dragonpilot
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Re: Estimating liquor needs

Post by dragonpilot » Mon Feb 23, 2015 5:01 pm

Can't emphasize the "overdoing it" aspect enough. Your proposed hours are starting at the hottest part of the day, so staffing a bar at that time is going to be harder on you than you think combined with the dust, altitude, chaos. Folks across the street from us last year had no set bar hours...they opened when they felt like it, gauging their mood and the public's mood, served beer/liquor with bottled mixers, DJ'd lounge tunes, and shut down when they were ready to go out and party.

That said, go with your best concept, take notes, and adjust accordingly...this is your first shot at the playa and she can be a harsh mistress to those with fixed plans. Bars are huge amounts of fun, but they can be a huge amounts of work...and you don't want to say at the end "I'm NEVER doing that again!"
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Monkeystyle
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Re: Estimating liquor needs

Post by Monkeystyle » Mon Feb 23, 2015 5:06 pm

Looks like we're going to be neighbors. Bloodbath & beyond has been at 3:00 and F the past two years and we're aiming for the same spot again. our camp has roughly 30 members and camp dues is always 3 40's of vodka and 6 large bloody mary mixes. last year on burn night we still had a lot of vodka left. we had ur sign up saying that we serve from when ever we wake up, until whenever we get bored. some days it was 1pm, others it was 3 or 4. works well for us.

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Re: Estimating liquor needs

Post by Zubeneschamali » Fri Mar 20, 2015 1:47 pm

Been running a small bar for many years, and this is what I can share with you.

Last year we went thru (this is Bar Only - not camp liquor / personal )
28 liters of Vodka
12 liters of Triple Sec
9 liters of Tequila
6 liters of Whiskey
8 cases of beer

There were also several bottles donated from neighbors

Mixers - Roses Lime, Bloody Mary Mix, Prepackaged lemonade, Gatorade, iced tea, and Hawaiian fucking Punch! Buy Gallons. More Gallons. When you think you have enough, buy more Gallons. If you have any unopened leftovers (you won't) drop them off for DPW. They don't want water they want beer, booze, and mixers.

We went thru average of 40 pounds of ice a day. We did provide cups both solo and shot.

We were open every day Tuesday thru Saturday. Our bar opened at 10am and went until we felt like closing, sometimes open until Dusk. One night we stayed open until midnight because we were having a great time. Saturday was dead in the afternoon so we closed early. The largest number of people we had on one day was almost 200 but usually around 100. Running the bar is a blast and its a pain in the ass. I pull my shift on Thursday and then I'm over it.

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