Top 10 Things You Should Know About Liquor License Solutions

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Premium Blend liquor license solutions

For almost 30 years, Premium Blend has been helping restaurant owners across America attract new customers, provide their customers with greater beverage choices, and substantially increase beverage profits. Premium Blend’s specially formulated and federally and state approved wine based liquor substitutes, cordials and cream specialty products have allowed restaurant owners to compete with their full liquor (distilled spirits) counterparts.

No individual wanting to open a restaurant should forge ahead without consulting with the local, state, and federal authorities, to make sure that they have all of the required licensing necessary to operate a successful venture. I would recommend to anyone wanting to open or operate a restaurant to check out all of the available resources, beginning with national and state restaurant and industry associations. Restaurant associations are a great resource and can provide valuable assistance to anyone thinking of opening or operating a restaurant.

The focus of this article will be on liquor license solutions. In this article, I will discuss how restaurant owners can effectively compete with their full liquor (distilled spirits) counterparts and will try to dispel any myths related to alcohol or establishing a “cocktail beverage program” using Premium Blend wine based or low proof liquor substitutes, cordials and cream specialty products. To understand what Premium Blend does, watch our YouTube video.

What do restaurant owners everywhere need to know about opening or operating a restaurant and taking advantage of Premium Blend’s liquor license solutions in order to have a successful and profitable beverage program? I’d like to share ten things ALL restaurant owners need to know before opening or operating a restaurant in New York or New Jersey, and available liquor license solutions.

1. Is it LEGAL – Can I Sell Cocktails Legally with ONLY a Wine or Beer/Wine License? The number one question that Premium Blend is asked over and over, is whether it is LEGAL for restaurants with a limited alcoholic beverage license, such as a beer/wine or wine license can serve cocktails LEGALLY? The simple answer is YES. That is why, after almost thirty years, Premium Blend’s slogan is “Serve Cocktails LEGALLY with your Beer and Wine License”. All Premium Blend products can be sold LEGALLY in all states, although the alcohol by volume (ABV) will vary from state to state since each state has the right to regulate the alcohol content of all alcoholic beverages within its borders. All Premium Blend products are registered and licensed by the federal government and all state authorities where Premium Blend products are sold.


2. Full Liquor License vs. Wine or Beer/Wine License. Potential restaurant owners or operators need to know that a full liquor license (a license to sell distilled spirits) can be very difficult and expensive to obtain. In some states, full liquor licenses can cost over one million dollars. Restaurant owners can serve an unlimited combination of “Happy Hour Cocktails” using Premium Blend products, and all with just a beer/wine or wine license, which in most cases can be obtained for just a few hundred dollars a year.

3. Fermented, Not Distilled. What is the difference between distilled and fermented alcohol? For all practical purposes, the answer is NONE. Many consumers have a misunderstanding between the distilled and fermented alcohol? Alcohol is basically the same, it just varies in concentration, from product to product. All alcohol based products, whether distilled spirits, wine, cider, or beer, start out as a fermented product. The only practical difference between the alcohols of the different products is the alcohol content and whether the product has been distilled after the initial fermentation process. For example, the initial process used to make Tequila, is exactly the same process that is used to make Premium Blend’s El Guitarron, Tequesta Gold, El Jinete Blanco, or Fortuna de Don Pepe agave wines. More on this later.

4. Premium Blend Cocktail vs. Distilled Spirits Cocktail. Restaurant owners need to understand why a Premium Blend cocktail, when prepared according to our recommended recipe, is comparable, or better than one made with distilled spirits made at a full liquor licensed establishment. Premium Blend liquor substitutes are used in the exact same manner as their distilled spirit counterparts. Premium Blend recipes call for “DOUBLING UP” on the amount of liquor substitute that one would normally use to make a distilled spirits cocktail. For example, a typical screwdriver recipe calls for using one ounce of Vodka (40% ABV). In this case, one would DOUBLE UP or use two ounces of Premium Blend KLIR RED (24% ABV). The resulting Premium Blend cocktail will actually be a little stronger than one made with distilled spirits (vodka). Of course, although Premium Blend supports responsible drinking, a restaurant owner is free to use more (but never less) of its liquor substitutes than the recommended amounts called for in a cocktail recipe. In addition to recipe books, Premium Blend also has many cocktail recipes that can be found on their website at http://www.premiumblend.com/index.php/recipes

5. Premium Blend = Substantially Higher Beverage Profits. With Premium Blend products restaurant owners, can enjoy substantially higher profits than if they sold just beer and wine alone. For example, a typical cocktail using Premium Blend products and mixers costs about $1.15 to make and sells typically for $6 to $12, depending on location. A good rule of thumb to use when pricing Premium Blend cocktails is to price it at about $1-$2 more than the price of a premium imported beer.

6. Premium Blend = Greater Beverage Choices. It’s no secret that restaurant owners and operators make significantly higher profit margins on beverages than food. For those restaurant owners that only have a beer/wine or wine license, beverage sales can oftentimes mean the difference between success or failure. A restaurant owner should not limit the beverage choices it offers its customers. The greater beverage choices, the greater the profit margins for the restaurant. Premium Blend allows a restaurant owner to increase its profits by increasing beverage sales by increasing beverage options to customers who would otherwise not order beer or wine, if these were the only choices available.

7. Premium Blend = Increased Customer Counts and First Time Customer Visits. By offering Premium Blend Happy Hour Cocktail Specials during a restaurants slowest days and times, restaurant owners have a way to attract new potential long term customers. It is very important that restaurant owners and operators use every tool available to them to increase customer counts, even if only for an occasional 2 for 1 Happy Hour Special. The customer who comes in for a cocktail special may be tomorrow’s customer who brings in his whole family for dinner.

8. Premium Blend is Easy – No Bartender Needed. Making a Premium Blend cocktail is easy and inexpensive to do. There is no special or expensive equipment to buy or complicated employee training required when using Premium Blend products. Most Premium Blend products have cocktail recipes printed on the label. Premium Blend recipe books available for most popular cocktails. In addition, Premium Blend’s website provides product information, additional recipes and even videos that show how easy it is to make a Premium Blend cocktail. 

9. Premium Blend Provides Great Customer Service & Support. Premium Blend provides customer service and support to all restaurants who use Premium Blend products, including posters, recipe books, tasting cards, table tents, and other point of sale materials, all FREE OF CHARGE to all Premium Blend customers. Product information brochures can also be found on Premium Blend’s website.

10. Premium Blend Products Distributed by OPICI WINE in New York State. Premium Blend products are distributed in over 40 states, including New York. OPICI FAMILY DISTRIBUTING is one of Premium Blend’s oldest distributors. Restaurant owners and operators who wish to sample Premium Blend products can contact Opici Family Distributing at Opici Wine Company of New York, 3 Manhattanville Road, Purchase, NY, 10577; Phone: (800) 648-WINE; Email: infoNYNJ@opici.com; or at OPICI FAMILY DISTRIBUTING c/o Opici Wine Company of New York, 6970 Schuyler Road, East Syracuse, NY 13057; Phone: (800) 648-WINE; Email: infoNYNJ@opici.com.

Author’s Note: Although Premium Blend does not currently have a distributor in New Jersey, I invite all distributors in New York or New Jersey who would be interested in becoming an EXCLUSIVE Premium Blend distributor in New Jersey, to contact me at sonny@premiumblend.com. We also would like to hear from any restaurant or other off-premise venue that is interested in selling or currently using Premium Blend products to contact me and let me know how I can help you succeed with Premium Blend.


Reydel “Sonny” Santos is currently Vice President of Operations for Premium Blend and oversees all Distributor Sales and Customer Service.  Premium Blend is a family owned and operated business and has the largest selection of wine based liquor substitutes, cordials, and cream specialty products of any supplier or brand owner that serves on-premise and off-premise venues with limited alcoholic beverage licenses (beer/wine or wine licensed only).  For information on becoming a Premium Blend distributor or buying Premium Blend products, contact Sonny Santos at sonny@premiumblend.com.