Many of us get upset about wine prices at restaurants, which commonly can run 3-4 times the average retail cost. It seems even worse when we know the restaurant paid wholesale, meaning the markup is even higher. We feel cheated, ripped off, and don't understand why the prices are so high. It is especially galling when there are other restaurants which seem to do very well with a far more modest markup. Why can't all restaurants follow suit?
Yet there are items with an even higher markup than wine. But for unknown reasons, people don't seem to get as riled up, though they might be paying as much as 10 times the usual retail cost. And they should be very concerned, as this item has even less justification than wine for the markup. I am talking about spirits, hard alcohol like vodka, rum and gin.
Most spirits are sold by the shot or mixed into cocktails, and such drinks commonly cost $8-$20, and some even higher. The standard shot glass is 1.5 ounces, and there are about 25 ounces of alcohol in a standard 750ml bottle. You thus get roughly 17 shots from a single bottle, and if the restaurant charges $10 per shot, that bottle ends up costing the customer $170. That same bottle might retail for $15-$30, making a markup of 5-10 times.
That markup is far worse than wine, and almost seems criminal. So where is the outrage? Why do people complain about wine prices but ignore the huge markup on spirits? Wine at least has some justification for the added price, such as its short shelf life once opened. Most spirits can last quite a while once opened and won't die off in a few days. You don't have the storage issues with spirits that you do with wine. No need for temperature and humidity controlled cellars.
It seems that restaurants charge so much because people are still willing to pay the price. But why are consumers doing so? They would not go to a liquor store and pay 10 times the retail cost for a bottle of vodka. So why go to a restaurant and do that?
Restaurant owners, justify yourselves. Why do you have such a high markup on spirits?
Consumers, stand up and make your voice be heard. Let these restaurants know you won't tolerate this price gouging.