The food and beverage industry constantly changes. New manufacturing technologies combined with the thirst for new flavors have brought a variety of new beverages and brands to life. Exotic hard seltzers, new types of craft beer, and various new flavors of energy drinks are just some of the beverages that have become popular. In this guide, we’ll share more details about the wholesale drinks industry.
What Businesses Buy Wholesale Drinks
Even though buying large quantities of wholesale drinks can cause some inventory storage problems, a lot of business owners do it as wholesale prices help reduce operating expenses. Let’s examine what categories of businesses buy wholesale beverages.
Restaurants, Bars, and Nightclubs
As these establishments are often associated with beverage consumption, it’s logical that they find suppliers for wholesale drinks. They purchase a variety of beverages. From spirits, through soft drinks to exotic craft beers and imported wines. Restaurants often offer food and drink pairings as a way to increase orders. Furthermore, the markup on beverages is usually higher compared to food. That’s why by offering a wide variety of options in their drink menus, restaurants can maximize profits.
Hospitality Groups and Country Clubs
Hotels, country clubs, resorts, and other businesses from the hospitality industry also purchase wholesale drinks. Whether their guests are visiting for a vacation or an event like a wedding, they are expected to consume both alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages. Therefore, it’s no wonder that these businesses order a variety of drinks in bulk. Some examples include wholesale champagne, wholesale water in bottles, and bulk wine.
Catering Businesses and Event Companies
Caterers and event-planning companies are expected to arrange the food, the drinks, and the decoration of special events. Therefore, they often partner with wholesale drinks distributors. That way, they know that they can purchase beverages in bulk at wholesale prices instead of retail ones. Companies that organize major events such as music festivals or conventions also need to partner with suppliers of various wholesale products.
Retailers and Stores
Convenience stores, eCommerce retailers, and other businesses that sell directly to consumers purchase large quantities of various beverages. These include wholesale energy drinks, large quantities of soda, wholesale liquor, ready-to-drink cocktail mixes, juices, and many more.
Educational and governmental institutions are likely to purchase a variety of wholesale drinks like wholesale coffee or soda. These beverages are sold in institutions’ cafeterias as well as used by the staff.
Producers of energy drinks or hard seltzers purchase large quantities of beverages to use in their manufacturing process. These can include bulk juice, spirits, seltzer water, or others. Distilleries often purchase large quantities of liquor. For example, whiskey distilleries that make blended whiskeys buy wholesale whiskey from other producers. They use it to add new characteristics and flavors to the liquor they manufacture.
Pros and Cons of Buying Wholesale Drinks
There are various advantages to purchasing wholesale beverages, especially for businesses that sell a lot of drinks or drink-related products. However, there are cons to purchasing large quantities too.
Advantages of Purchasing Wholesale Drinks
- Cost cuts. Purchasing wholesale beverages leads to a lower price per unit. Furthermore, businesses that use very large quantities have the bargaining power to negotiate even lower rates.
- Convenience. It’s much easier for businesses to deal with one or two suppliers instead of communicating directly with many manufacturers of beverages. By partnering with liquor and soda wholesale distributors, companies save a lot of time.
- A wide variety. Suppliers usually work with hundreds of producers and importers. That’s why they have many products in their catalogs. Ergo, it can be much better for businesses to use the services of a middleman instead of purchasing wholesale tequila from Mexico or wholesale wine from Italy and France.
- Better inventory management. Wholesalers often use various order management software solutions like BlueCart. That gives even more convenience to their customers as they can check previous orders, duplicate orders, and use other tools offered by the software.
Disadvantages of Purchasing Wholesale Drinks
- Overstocking and storage-related issues. The risk of overstocking might be a reason for some businesses to not work with wholesalers. That’s especially true for businesses that have low storage capacity. Additionally, businesses that stock large quantities of products that are rarely purchased like premium wines or luxury champagne might have difficulty liquidating these assets.
- Upfront investment. As distributors often have minimum order requirements, some companies might end up investing a lot of capital by buying from wholesalers. Even though that investment is good in the long run, it might cause companies to be left with very little cash on hand and operating capital.
Popular Spirits Sold by Wholesale Drinks Suppliers
Businesses buy a variety of alcoholic beverages in large quantities. That’s especially true for nightclubs, bars, and manufacturers of ready-to-drink cocktails. Let’s briefly examine some of the most commonly purchased spirits.
- Vodka. Being a popular ingredient in many summer cocktails, vodka is one of the most consumed spirits. In the US, people rarely drink vodka neat. However, in Europe and especially in Eastern European countries it’s the preferred way to drink vodka. There are a lot of flavored vodka varieties available on the market.
- Whiskey. Scotch and bourbon are among the most consumed hard liquor in the US. There are dozens of different types of whiskey distilled all over the world. Popular ones include Tennessee, Irish, and Japanese whiskey. Bourbon, rye, and corn whiskey are other varieties of the amber beverage that are popular in the US.
- Rum. Its sweetness makes it a popular standalone drink. There are many varieties of rum including spiced, dark, white, and several others. Rum is used in various basic cocktail recipes like daiquiri and Cuba libre.
- Tequila. It’s one of the most popular spirits in North American culture. Tequila is produced only in certain areas of Mexico as its name is subject to regulations. Other beverages made from agave fall under the mezcal category. Margarita and tequila sunrise are among the most popular cocktails in the US and worldwide.
- Gin. Just like vodka, this is another spirit that is rarely consumed neat but is often found in cocktails.
- Other types of hard liquor. The distillation of beverages has been known for centuries. That’s why different regions and cultures have created different recipes for distilled liquors. Some of them are known in the US while others are popular in their respective regions. These include brandy, ouzo, advocaat, sake, rakia, and digestive bitters.
Popular Soda, Drink Mixes, and Non-Alcoholic Drinks Sold by Wholesale Drinks Suppliers
Corner stores, gyms, cafeterias, and a variety of other businesses purchase wholesale drinks and sell them to customers. The beverage industry offers a variety of options. We’ll try to share more about the main categories of non-alcoholic beverages on the market.
Coca-Cola and Pepsi are certainly the most popular soft drinks manufacturers. These two companies produce different brands like Sprite, Fanta, Mountain Dew, and Mirinda. Other than these two giants, other companies like Dr. Pepper and National Beverage Corp. also offer a variety of soda drinks with different flavors.
Soft drink companies often introduce new brands or flavors on the market. These efforts are aimed at increasing their market share and trying to compete with manufacturers of energy drinks and ready-to-drink cocktails. Sometimes new companies attempt to increase their popularity by reducing their profit margins substantially. They sell wholesale soft drinks to businesses at a very low markup and strive to gain brand recognition as they can’t compete with the advertising budgets of giants like Coca-Cola and Pepsi.
Unlike liquor, wine, or wholesale coffee distributors, suppliers of soft drinks rarely import these products from other countries. The majority of sodas on the US market are locally manufactured.
There are two main juice varieties on the market - from concentrate and not from concentrate. You can read more about them in our article about juice from concentrate vs not. Fresh juice not from concentrate is often consumed as a standalone beverage. The concentrated ones are frequently used for mixing. Food service establishments often purchase juice concentrate as it’s easier to transport and store. They might mix it with water in a juice fountain machine.
In terms of flavor, the most popular juices are orange, apple, and grape. They are frequently part of cocktail recipes as well.
There are various types of water on the market. Stores and restaurants often purchase them from wholesale distributors. Here are some of the popular types of water.
- Spring water. It’s extracted from natural springs and is rich in minerals. Its natural taste makes it perfect for hydrating and the healthiest option among non-alcoholic beverages.
- Seltzer water. There are two types of seltzer water on the market. Natural sparkling water is carbonated naturally underground. Manufactured seltzers, on the other hand, are carbonated by adding carbon dioxide under pressure. Seltzer water might be purchased by manufacturers of hard seltzers or other mixed drinks.
- Infused water. Water infused with fruits, herbs, or collagen is becoming more popular. This type of water can be a healthier and tastier alternative to regular one. Collagen water is becoming especially popular. It’s infused with collagen peptides and has a wide range of health benefits. They include improving skin and joint health as well as having a positive effect on hair thickness and nail strength.
The energy drinks industry has undoubtedly become very popular. Energy drinks are a preferred alternative to coffee or tea by many consumers. Their refreshing and thirst-quenching characteristics make them an afternoon energizing drink or a popular option to have in nightclubs. Just like soda drinks and hard seltzers, there’s a large variety of energy drinks on the market.
Wine and Champagne Offered by Wholesale Drinks Distributors
Some suppliers of wine and champagne specialize in these drinks and don’t sell a large variety of spirits or beer. As some of the most popular wines are Old World ones from Italy and France, many businesses will choose to work directly with importers.
The term wholesale wine shouldn’t be confused with bulk wine. Wholesale wine refers to bottled drinks that are shipped in large quantities to businesses such as restaurants. Bulk wine, on the other hand, is not bottled. It’s also sold in large quantities but it's stored in barrels or tanks during transportation. Bulk wine is used by wineries to tamper with the fermentation process. Some wine producers might also combine their vintage with other wine varieties as a way to create unique wines.
Businesses from the food service industry also purchase bulk wine. It can be offered as house wines. Another application of bulk wine is for private labeling. Companies might want to create their own wine brand without investing in expensive bottling machinery or the whole wine-making process. In that case, they can partner with winemakers and white-labeling companies and create a vintage of private-label wines.
Main Types of Wine Offered by Wholesale Drinks Distributors
- Red. Some of the best wine pairings are with red wine varieties such as Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, or Pinot Noir.
- White. Chardonnay, Riesling, and Pinot Grigio are often purchased by businesses as they are popular summer drinks or food pairings.
- Rosé. With its different shades and flavors, rosé is a popular alternative to white wines.
- Sparkling. This category includes Champagne, Prosecco, and other sparkling wines from all across the world.
- Dessert. Wines are not only combined with meat or cheese dishes. They can also complement sweets. Dessert wines can go well with tarts, cakes, and many other desserts.
Other Products Offered by Wholesale Drinks Distributors
Beverage suppliers also have accessories and other products in their catalogs. Here are some of the non-beverage products offered by wholesale drinks distributors.
- Accessories. Suppliers are likely to offer various accessories such as bartender sets, bottle pourers, stoppers, and wholesale cups or straws. These accessories depend a lot on the type of business. However, companies that buy wholesale drinks and sell them retail are likely to need at least some accessories for their day-to-day operations.
- Snacks. Chips or other snacks can be part of the catalogs of wholesale drinks suppliers. These products are often combined with soda drinks, beer, or other beverages. Furthermore, some of the major manufacturers of drinks like Coca-Cola and Pepsi also have snack brands in their portfolios.
- Equipment. Machines such as coolers, vending machines, or soda fountain machines are often sold by suppliers of wholesale drinks. Sometimes, beverage manufacturers give businesses branded machines free of charge. That’s as long as they sell the products of the said manufacturer.