The True Risk & Reward
of Festival Beer Sales
How many ounces are in a half barrel of beer? A half barrel is 15.5 gallons. 128 ounces in a gallon, 128 x 15.5 = 1984 ounces about 165 glasses of beer.
What is the cost of an average half barrel at a typical Summer Festival?
The cost of the half barrel is inflated to around $100 for domestic beer and $150 for craft beer for most special events that are serviced by a distributor. The distributors are able to inflate the costs of beer sales because of their sponsorship of the event and the service they provide to the festival (i.e. manpower, trucks, etc.). The cost is typically inflated by 20% – 50% above retail.
How can you figure out the average profit for each half barrel sold?
The simple math is to take the price of a cup of beer ($5) and multiply by the number of 12oz pours. This number would be 165 – 12 oz pours into 14 oz cups. Unfortunately this does not take into account a few general factors…. Spillage, Random Consumption, and The Friend Factor.
Spillage: The act of spilling a portion of the beer as the cup is filled. Most bartenders want to ‘top off’ the cup so that their customers are happy with the beer/foam ratio. This act typically accounts for between 5% – 15% of the product… lost.
Random Consumption: The act of drinking the occasional beer while working at the beverage booth. This is extremely common at summer festivals. The ‘volunteers’ that work at events feel that they are allowed to sample the product as part of “the deal”. They volunteer for your event and think that it can’t hurt if they just sip a beer or two throughout their shift. Random consumption accounts for about a 5% – 10% decline in festival beer sales per barrel.
The Friend Factor: This is the act of giving your friends (or people you want to be your friends) free beverages. When people you know come up to the booth… it feels good to give them a couple free drinks.. right? What is the harm… right? Being a bartender has it’s privileges. This causes losses of between 5% – 10% of the beer in each barrel.
So, on the low side, lets say that 15% is lost…. that would equal 298 ounces… or 25 beers. That’s only $125 dollars per barrel… no big deal. On the high side of 30% … that would equal $250+… per barrel. OUCH.
So, if you have it in your heart to Volunteer to sell beer… please be careful not to cost the charity too much of their profits. It takes a lot of time and money to put on a festival… Volunteer to help… not HURT.
Do not spill the profits down the drain
Do not drink the profits while you are ‘volunteering’
Do not give your friends the profits (free beer)