Drink Promotion Ideas: How to Boost Sales


drink promotion ideas


Effective drink promotion ideas can be the difference between a successful venue and one that won’t be able to survive very long at all.

Since bars are primarily built around selling drinks, you would think that they would, well, sell drinks.

However, most bars, especially in the city, find themselves struggling to boost their sales after the pandemic.

While the pandemic did have its role to play, the increasing prices of drinks and the extra expenditure of a night out at a bar or club coupled with better health and financial awareness and lower prices of supermarket alcohol have led to a decline in bar sales.

Additionally, there seems to be a much higher supply as compared to the actual demand for bars in general.

On the other hand, the situation isn’t that dismal.

Sure, there are so many businesses to compete with, but most of them rely on bringing a hot ‘new’ idea and becoming a local ‘trend’ in the area for their drink sales.

Whereas successful businesses keep that as a part of their overall marketing is a much better option than solely relying on that one strategy to attract customers.


how to boost drink sales


So, what are successful bars and pubs doing differently to promote their drinks and boost sales?

For starters, they are targeting their main audience.

Having identified who spends or would spend the most among their customers, they curate promotional ideas that would motivate these customers to spend more money on buying drinks.

In most cases, the key demographics are millennials (and Generation Z).

When it comes to drinks, bar owners are often tempted to host all-you-can-drink hours or discounts.

But these flash ‘sales’ are not healthy for a business and, in the end, may even make a loss and are illegal.

Drink promotions should be done in a profitable, healthy, and, most importantly, legal way (according to your state and country laws).

Here are some drink promotion ideas to help you boost your sales:


1. Happy hour sales
2. Screen popular events
3. Create and share moments
4. Loyalty rewards program
5. Working with themes
6. Drinks and food
7. Competitions and games
8. Supporting a cause and charity events
9. On your way to more sales


1. Happy hour sales


The ‘Happy Hour Sales’ tactic is not new by any means and has existed possibly even before the 18th century.

It is a tried and tested way of promoting bar sales and attracting several new customers.

The basic concept of freebies, discounts, coupons, price slashes, or any sort of deal for that matter tends to draw in customers and make them happy.

The ‘flat off’ posters increase the oxytocin level (also known as the happy hormone) in customers by almost 14%, and happy customers lead to more drink sales.


happy hour tips


While effective, these sales need to keep a balance between what and how much you offer to keep your profits in the green. Some tips are:


Keep the sale prices right

Mark up your best sellers slightly to offset any losses.


Focus on repeat customers

Happy hour sales work best for repeat customers, so your sales should revolve around them.

Pick a time when most of your loyal customer base is at your bar and give special discounts on combinations of drinks, they prefer the most.


Upsells and combos

Use your happy hour offers to push combos to upsell, advertise new entries to your menu, and increase revenue on food as well.


Advertise your happy hour sales

Common mistake business owners often make is not diversifying their advertising strategy to include happy hour sales.

Advertising your brand is essential, but it is also important to highlight what goes inside your bar or business to attract attention and customers.

After all, a happy hour sale is a marketing trick that will only work when people know about it.


drink promotion ideas happy hour


These happy hour sales not only increase sales of drinks but at the same time act as promoters and draw more attention to your brand and business.

Creating posters for your business’s social media pages, adding stories and highlights, including tags, and adopting other social media marketing and online marketing methods to generate hype about your happy hour sale can work better to expand your consumer base.

This also ensures that your regular and repeat customers keep coming back.


2. Screen popular events


People’s favorite shows and events like the Lakers game usually run in the late evenings and go on into the night, the prime time for drinks.

Screening their popular events or shows in your bars and pubs can entertain the office workers getting off work and looking for a place to rewind, preferably with a drink in hand and their favorite show playing.


screen popular events


You can promote more sales by offering discounts or deals like half-price on the first drink or even free drinks for a celebratory win.

Observe your customers, what they like to drink the most, the snacks that sell during screening time, what they like watching or would want to watch, and the type of sports the majority prefers- and start screening and marketing accordingly.


3. Create and share moments


While the idea may sound more sentimental than anything else, it has produced good results.

Now, when we say ‘moments,’ we don’t just mean anything.

In the age of social media being one of the biggest entertainment platforms, cool tricks and stunts are a great way to attract attention.

For pubs and bars, this could mean having a barman that can perform mixing stunts or other antics.

If you see a bartender doing a loop de loop with a rainbow-colored drink and serving it in a crystal glass with a huge diamond-shaped ice cube, you will probably want to drink that out of curiosity (if not anything else).

It doesn’t even have to be limited to something cool and complicated but could also be a simple but funny piece.


mixologists marketing


The idea behind these shareable ‘moments’ is to garner your audience’s attention and get them interested in your business.

The goal is to call out to people scrolling on their Instagram, invite them to watch your video, and get them to visit your page, check out your account, let them discover your pub or bar, and intrigue them enough to make them visit your business.

Posting these videos to your business’s social media accounts and website can attract a larger crowd and promote sales.

Adding mini promotions can also help.

For instance, you could offer a gift or a voucher of some sort to the first ten people to like or comment or share your video.

If these generate buzz among the locals, you can expect more people to come in to see the stunt happen in real life.

This can also extend to having a great decor or a unique set-up or ambiance.


4. Loyalty rewards program


Loyalty programs center around repeat customers.

This could include offering a free drink with a snack on a customer’s 5th purchase.

This can motivate customers to keep coming back and ordering drinks from your bar.

Punch Cards are another example of the simplest type of loyalty program.


loyalty rewards program


Loyalty programs offer a wide range and can be diverse.

They can even work digitally without spending a ton of revenue.

Some third-party applications can even handle online loyalty programs for your business.


5. Working with themes


Involving the month’s theme to boost sales is, again, not a new tactic.

Theme nights can be found almost everywhere, from your community’s social clubhouse to even public libraries.

The obvious reason why this strategy is still alive, and running is that it works.

In fact, people expect businesses to sell holiday-themed products.

The key to turning these themes profitable is getting creative with your offers.

Several themes crop up throughout the year and can work well for drink promotions.

Let’s take St. Patrick’s Day.

Guinness sells wildly when it comes to doomsday.


drink promotion ideas - themes


It makes sense to offer a drink promotion that works well for your business to generate a profit margin.

You could choose to sell Guinness at a reduced price or keep the normal price but pair it with another promotion like food.

Valentine’s Day is another great holiday that can be used for drink promotions.

Using a theme can add creativity and a fun element rather than appearing desperate to your customers to make sales.

Besides festive and holiday themes, you can also dabble in original ideas with themed nights for a few days in a week.

There could be a week for wine tasting or a day out of the week for karaoke and live entertainment.

Pick and choose between themes and events and even ask for your customer’s opinions and feedback to take better advantage of your themed nights.

These events can also be used to create shareable moments and generate an inviting image of your business.


6. Drinks and food


If your venue serves food or snacks along with drinks, then drink promotions can be paired with food promotions to get the best from both products.


drinks and food

For Valentine’s Day, you could offer a limited offer of a three-course meal paired with a bottle of wine. You could also provide package deals for some snacks and drinks instead.


7. Competitions and games


Local pubs and bars are known not just for their drinks and food but also for the space they create to relax and destress.

The charm of these businesses comes to life when tired office workers come in after a long day of work and can be seen with their sleeves rolled up, chatting with their friends, munching on some food, and playing darts.

One of the goals of pubs and bars is providing entertainment, and this can easily be accomplished by hosting competitions and games.


drink promotion ideas games


Some games that can be set up inside your business include:

– Air hockey
– Foosball
– Pool
– Trivia
– Darts

You could also involve your staff and run friendly competitions to keep them motivated.

For instance, they could come up with a new drink every month, and the customers can vote to choose the best one.

The drinks could also be included in your regular menu with an honorary mention.

A helpful tip is to involve your customers; after all, the games should be fun for them.

So, take feedback where and when possible and ask for recommendations or improvements. You could also give out small rewards for first timers to create interest.


8. Supporting a cause and charity events


Most people would prefer to know that their hard-earned money is being used for a noble cause instead just on an evening of fun or drinks.

Partnering with a charity or a local foundation and donating a percentage of the night’s revenue to the organizations can help boost sales.

This can help particularly when the cause is relatable or well-known.


charity events


For instance, a pet owner would not hesitate to buy an extra drink if they know a portion of the sales would be going to a pet-themed charity.

You could partner with a local pet welfare society, donate a percentage of the revenue generated, and host an adoption event the same night.

Who doesn’t like a bunch of cuddly and smiling dogs?

And the folks at the bar could buy drinks and food to donate to the cause after seeing the beneficiaries.

This is a really positive drink promotion you can try.


9. On your way to more sales


These were just a few of the drink promotion ideas that could be implemented in your bar or pub to boost your sales.

Of course, this list does not limit the methods that could be adopted.

You could develop similar or completely new strategies that could work well with your business to drive your profits.

However, a common element that can be seen across most ideas is creativity.

No one wants to see something that’s been going on for ages.


boost drink sales


They want something new and exciting.

On the other hand, to its core, pubs, and bars are still the best way for millennials to unwind.

They want a comfortable space that serves good drinks and good food.

So, the key to a good drink promotion strategy and the way to boost sales lies in the balance between these two factors.

In any case, be sure to keep the state and country laws for alcoholic drink sales and promotion in mind while trying to boost sales.

About Josh Wood

Founder | Writer | Tech Enthusiast