Wholesale Alcohol Purchase In Ca?

Business By FromScratchSF Updated 6 Oct 2011 , 10:19pm by scp1127

FromScratchSF Posted 5 Oct 2011 , 4:13pm
post #1 of 7

I have just discovered that using booze in cake is the best thing ever and want to add several tasty new recipes to my menu. However I went to BevMo last night and bought all the different liquors I want to start using on a regular basis and dropped $300. After looking at the quantities I'll need to use for some of these cakes, I'm looking at adding anywhere from $20 to $30 bucks in cost just for an 8" round, which is not dooable. My brain hurts if I think about how much this will bump my costs if I wanted to make a wedding cake!

I have combed thru the ABC website to try and find requirements for buying wholesale liquor as an ingredient, not for resale and I can't find anything. Or do I even need an ABC license? I though I did but I could be wrong. At least I thought need one to buy liquor at Restaurant Depot.

So, who here is in California uses liquor in their cakes, and are you able to get it wholesale? And if you do get it wholesale, what license did you need to get?



6 replies
scp1127 Posted 6 Oct 2011 , 7:31am
post #2 of 7

FromScratch, my prices aren't near yours, but for my area, my prices are astronomical. It seems the more I add to a premium cake, the more popular it gets. I am actually having to revamp my whole strategy around this situation. I'm getting ready to drop the chocolate/vanilla type combos, and concentrate on the more decadent. I know your site setup. You could easily add a third tier menu.

I think everyone offers the regular flavors and even though I sell some (two total sales for chox/vanilla), the higher priced items are the biggest sellers. Of course, that cake had better be the best they've had, but as long as it delivers, it works.

When we and our friends (which are also my customers) are vacationing, fine dining is usually in the plans. They have to wait for another vacation to eat well again. My bakery offers these premium products every day. I know you are in SF where this type of dessert is prevalent, but combined with your elite skill level, I think you can pull it off.

Off cake example: I priced my sticky buns at $40 for 8. I didn't think anyone would buy them. I just loved making them for my family. They are by far, my best sellers.

I can't answer your wholesale question, obviously, but even if you must pay full retail, I am sure you will do well. You of all people know that in premium products with upper income clients, price is usually associated with value.

jason_kraft Posted 6 Oct 2011 , 2:51pm
post #3 of 7

I don't buy alcohol wholesale, but I know that Restaurant Depot does require an ABC license to buy alcohol there.

scp1127 Posted 6 Oct 2011 , 8:49pm
post #4 of 7

A liquor license is expensive, so definitely not the way to go for cakes. The insurance alone is cost prohibitive, because the insurance is there in the event of injury from alcohol abuse, which doesn't happen in baking. Years ago when I applied in WV (but ended up pulling the plug on the restaurant project), it was $5,000 yearly. The beer and wine license was $1,500 if purchased alone. Both required insurance, bonding, perfect credit score, and a certain amount of assets.

In WV, I can bake all I want with the alcohol, but I must have on file a recipe for each brand.

I think it important to be able to break down the alcohol content per serving, baked and full strength for customers. This is not found in those charts that most people use. They break down the amount of liqueur or spirits remaining. You have to divide out the ALCOHOL content, go to the charts for alcohol evaporation in cooking, calculate it, and divide per serving. Each brand of alcoholic beverage has a different amount used in a recipe and each has a different % of alcohol. Being comfortable with these calculations makes the health dept more at ease and shows responsibility to the ABC board if you are questioned about the use in food.

FromScratchSF Posted 6 Oct 2011 , 9:57pm
post #5 of 7

I think that's getting too technical. Some extracts have as much alcohol content per volume as some of these liquors. But anyway, it's not a retail fear that I'm going to get busted for selling a cake with booze in it... I know using spirits in cake is perfectly legal and fine. It's a matter of bringing the cost of my ingredients down by being able to purchase alcohol at a discount because I don't pay retail for anything anymore. From my online research I can't find anything about a different license or even if what I'm asking about exists.

I guess I could just call them icon_biggrin.gif


jason_kraft Posted 6 Oct 2011 , 10:11pm
post #6 of 7

Have you checked Costco? They usually have pretty good prices for alcohol in bulk.

scp1127 Posted 6 Oct 2011 , 10:19pm
post #7 of 7

But we don't use as much extract as we do spirits, wine and liqueur. I just threw that out there because for anyone using larger volumes of alcohol in baking, in some areas, such as mine, the use will be a little cloudy to some HD's and ABC boards. I'm sure CA has it figured out. It just helps to be prepared with the knowledge if questioned, as I was. And I was told to be prepared to have those recipes on hand for ABC if they asked questions. It's uncharted territory in many jurisdictions.

In most cases of fine dining restaurants where alcohol is used in larger quantities in cooking, the establishment has a liquor license. Most bakers do not.

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