October 09, 2018

A study in shots vs watts: Could saving alcohol be as simple as switching the lights off?

A study in shots vs watts: Could saving alcohol be as simple as switching the lights off?

We all know the rules when it comes to saving energy. Turn all the lights off when you leave, stock your fridges properly and don't run the AC with the door open. It's everyday common sense, but it can save you a lot of money.

And did you know that there is actually a direct correlation between electricity and alcohol costs?

While you don't expect to see the electrician downing tools to pull a pint, or your best bartender fitting the downlights, there are some interesting links between the way energy and electricity are consumed and some interesting lessons to be learned from seeing how they compare.

At Überbartools™, we decided to see exactly how closely shots and watts aligned. And we think the results are pretty interesting.

Shots vs Watts World Survey

The table below shows the cost of one kilowatt per hour energy consumption*, in four different countries, versus the cost of one measure of alcohol. In the final three columns we looked at the cost of the over-pour (either due to the meniscus, spillages and bad pouring), with the average cost of a 3-5ml over-pour included in the final column.

Uberbartools Shots vs Watts study shows the relationship between energy prices and alcohol costs

Meaning in the Maths

There are three main takeaways from the shots vs watts comparison:
  1. From the first two columns we can clearly see that the cost of one shot of booze very closely matches the cost of a kilowatt hour of electricity.
  2. When we take the cost of a shot and add the average amount of over-pour, it is significantly higher than the cost of an hour’s electricity usage.
  3. The real cost is only conveyed when we consider that it takes three to five seconds to pour a shot, so in the space of one hour there would be multiple shots poured – and therefore a damaging loss of booze… or, more importantly, profit!

As a bar owner or manager, you wouldn't take kindly to staff locking up and leaving all the lights on - what a waste of energy! But it's likely you haven't thought twice about this seemingly insignificant waste of alcohol.

Going Green, Saving Green

As sustainability has become an important focus for many bars and there is an understanding that there are many ways, small and large, that we can change our carbon footprint. This includes reducing energy consumption, but also has a lot to do with how we approach waste in general.

H Joseph Ehrmann, owner of Elixir, America’s first certified ‘green’ bar believed in the necessary changes and that they weren’t that hard if you just rethink the way things are done behind the bar.

“I’ve always said that if the bar industry could set norms and break patterns, we can be a role model for so many others. It’s actually easy for the bar business to be low impact,” Ehrmann says. “It just takes a matter of sustained focus on changing the way things are done operationally, and then you’ll never look back,” he tells Tales of the Cocktail

Over-pouring of shots is costing bars money in alcohol wastage

Make a difference

One major step that can be taken is to reduce that wastage of poured booze by implementing the right bar tools into the your cocktail making processes. Not only will it make an impact on the environment but it’ll also help boost your profit.

Our whitepaper reveals how “a busy city centre night-club was able to reduce over-pour and wastage by 40 per cent, resulting in an additional AUD $68,000 of revenue across the year.” Just by removing the unintentional over-pour in every shot of booze caused by meniscus in round jiggers.

Überbartools™ shots versus watts research and our whitepaper on revenue recover through reducing liquor loss are a great start in understanding where you can save wastage and money. When you get smart about your bar tools then sustainability, efficiency and profitability follow.


*Please note, energy and alcohol prices correct as per study date of 2014. Costs may have risen since this study was carried out.