Walking into a liquor store can be like entering an adult Disneyland, but with so many bottles to choose from, figuring out what to buy can be an overwhelming task. There are a lot of factors to consider – like age, flavor, ingredients, and price. Plus, different companies are trying to catch your eye with fancy labels and bottle shapes. So, in order to help you make the right choice on your next trip to the liquor store, here are seven common mistakes that everyone makes buying liquor, and tips for avoiding them.
1. Sticking With What You Know
Thanks to our past experiences and some slick advertising, we all have our favorite brands of different types of products, and liquor is no exception. Whether you are looking for vodka, whiskey, rum, or gin, sticking to recognizable labels or those brands that you have had in the past could be causing you to miss out on some really good spirits.
Of course, there is nothing wrong with having a favorite brand. But, it is quite possible that there is an option that is more affordable and just as tasty as the brand you know.
Consider telling a bartender or liquor store employee your go-to brand, and then ask them to recommend some alternatives. Trying a brand you have never heard of isn’t going to hurt. And, the worst-case scenario is that you have liquor in the cabinet for mixed drinks.
2. Overestimating Your Needs And Trying To Return Bottles
Doing the booze math for a party can be tricky because you never know how much people will drink and what your guests’ preferences are. If you buy too much, you will have bottles everywhere for weeks, and if you underbuy, you could have some bored and unhappy guests. It’s quite common for people to purchase too much alcohol for a special event, and it is illegal to return because of federal racketeering laws (thanks, Mob).
So, when you are buying liquor for a party, there is a cheat sheet to help you estimate the amount you will need (thanks, internet). Use this formula to have the right amount of booze for your guests, without being stuck with cases of liquor afterward.
3. Being Strict About Price
Obviously, you want to stick with your budget, so you can pay your bills. But, when it comes to buying liquor, $5 to $10 can make a huge difference in quality and flavor. So, don’t get stuck on a specific price for one bottle of booze.
Also, don’t forget about price matching. If you have found a good deal online or at a competing store, bring in the advertisement and ask if the store will match the price. You will be surprised what some places will do to earn your business.
4. Ignoring The Bottom Shelf
Believe it or not, the shelf placement of liquor bottles has everything to do with price. The least expensive items are on the bottom shelf, and the bottles increase in price as you make your way to the top shelf.
But, just because a bottle of liquor is inexpensive, it doesn’t make it undrinkable. Yes, there are some things on the bottom shelf that should be saved for college kids needing to party on the cheap. But there can be some really good inexpensive options. Ask a liquor store employee for their recommendations, especially with gin and vodka.
Vodka is priced based on marketing an image. So, you can find some extremely affordable vodka that will taste like top shelf. But, with things like tequila, the price has everything to do with quality. So, be careful when it comes to bottom shelf shopping.
5. Letting The Packaging Fool You
Liquor companies are constantly changing their product packaging. Label and logos change regularly, so don’t rely on labels when it comes to recognizing your favorite brand.
Many companies make changes about every five years, and customers can easily be misled by flashy images on bottles. There are many good and established companies out there – especially in the wine category – that don’t update their labels. So, you could be missing out on a great product because their labels don’t stand out.
6. Failing To Do Some Research
There are many liquor stereotypes out there, and that leads to customers having misconceptions about different categories. There are many different types of whiskey, and not all tequilas are the same. So, considering the fact that you have every ounce of information in the history of the world in your pocket, take out that phone and do a little research to make your liquor shopping experience a lot better.
7. Forgetting About The Flavor
You would think that the flavor would be an obvious factor when choosing what kind of liquor to buy. The truth is that many people forget to ask about flavor, and instead focus on price. If you are going to be drinking something, you want it to taste good. So, ask an employee for a flavor description and see if they will give you a sample.
If you don’t know what a specific brand of liquor tastes like, how will you know for sure you will enjoy the taste? New state laws have popped up in the past few years allowing in-store tastings at liquor stores. So, don’t be afraid to ask an employee to pop open a bottle and give you a sample before you buy. Just be sure that you are serious about buying something.
With these common mistakes in mind, you can now approach the liquor store in the right frame of mind and find the perfect beverage for your needs.