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Bring Top-Shelf Brands to Your Home Bar (and Save Money)

If you ask for two fingers of 18-year-old Glenlivet in a bar, you may pay $60 for a drink while $150 will buy you the whole bottle (16 drinks).



If you ask for two fingers of 18-year-old Glenlivet in a bar, you may pay $60 for a drink while $150 will buy you the whole bottle (16 drinks).

Thanks to inflation, everyone is looking for creative ways to save money right now. And if the 2020 coronavirus lockdown taught us anything, it's that drinking at home is much cheaper than drinking out. You're pouring less cash into your at-home drink cart, sure. But are you taking every advantage to save your dollars?

The liquor market is heavily saturated with products. There are several major companies that distribute a lot of the most well-known brands. You've also got every celebrity and their mom creating their own tequila brand. In a liquor store full of too many brands, it's easy to bargain shop and walk out with some quality spirits.

Some of the most renowned brands are tied to long-standing market exposure and label clout. And while there are some solid well-known brands on shelves, most people are paying $5-$15 extra for a recognized brand. 

What's more, those brands sometimes lack the nuanced flavors and craftsmanship you'll get from a more localized brand. What are the chances that you've never even heard of your new favorite liquor brand? Pretty high. 

Find a Bar/Liquor Expert to Help Build a Home Bar

If you want the best quality booze for less bucks, an industry expert isn't as hard to find as you might think. If you've got a local liquor store, you've probably had a friendly chat with the person behind the counter when you check out. Next time, it might be worth your while to ask for their input.

Each liquor store will also have someone on staff who chooses what the store will carry. Ask the staff at your liquor store who does the ordering, and if that person is available, make them your buddy. 

If your local liquor store isn't the jazziest, there may be a bar in town that prides itself on its selection of a certain kind of liquor. For example, say you want to have a good mezcal on hand, there might be a bar in your town that prides itself on its mezcal selection. Some bars will even offer tasting experiences, which are a great way to celebrate a special occasion.

Even if the bar doesn't offer tastings, sidling up to the bar is still one of the most effective ways to get a feel for your local liquor market. Bartenders and bar managers meet alcohol company representatives almost daily. These reps come in, pour samples, and talk about tasting notes and price points to encourage the sale of their products. Your local bar doesn't opt to carry every spirit that reps bring in, but the bartender is very likely to remember anything that stands out, particularly the local stuff.


Look for Local Brands

The brewing and distilling market has seen a boom in more local products over the last decade, and almost every state has its own beer, wine, or liquor maker it takes pride in.

Visiting your local distilleries and sampling their products is a memorable alternative to a regular date night, and it puts a little money in the pockets of the service workers who are also struggling due to inflation. Plus, you'll get a better assessment of what your local area's vodka or whiskey tastes like compared to the bigger brands.

Large liquor chains and corner liquor stores alike usually carry what's local. Those brands are often much more affordable than major brands because the distribution circle is much smaller. If you know you like a whiskey after a long day's work, local distilleries often offer bulk shipping options and promotions, helping you spend less per bottle.

Love Your Brand? Consider Buying Stock In It.

Okay, so you're devoted to your mainstream liquor brand and there's no swaying that tide. Have you considered adding your favorite liquor company into your portfolio? Stocks like Constellation Brands  (STZ) - Get Constellation Brands Inc. Report, Brown Foreman Corporation  (BF.B) - Get Brown Forman Inc Class B Report, and Diageo  (DEO) - Get Diageo plc Report own some of biggest, most recognizable liquor brands in the world.

It's a known fact that alcohol stocks can be volatile. Despite what some may say, they aren't entirely recession-proof -- premium liquor? In this economy? Sure, your direct purchases won't have much effect on the stock, but an awareness and engagement in a company's stock price can have its benefits.

In a bear market, it's easy to feel pessimistic about stock prices. Having a personal connection to companies in your portfolio can help you maintain your optimism. A tie to the product may help discourage you from making an emotional decision when you feel like the chips are down.

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