Brought to you by BeerMenus

A simple strategy for beer-centric places to run a [very] profitable wine program

Last updated July 06, 2023 · By Dylan Blake

Zach Mack owns a beer-centric store in Manhattan—it's called Alphabet City Beer Co., after all. He sells 450 SKUs of beer to go and his 11 taps are reliably the best 11 taps you're gonna find in NYC.

But even though you wouldn't know it (I definitely didn't), he's got a sneaky-awesome wine program that's simple, makes him some great incremental profits, and actually has gotten him a fair amount of wine-drinking regulars at his beer bar.

Here's how he thinks about having a great, simple, profitable wine program at a beer-centric place:

  • A little bit of effort can go such a long way with wine: if you're not a wine focused place, wine people are thrilled when even a short list of great wines show up.
  • You don't have to blow out your budget on wines: Some of the best wine out there is available for between $8 and $15 wholesale.
  • That math works well for the bottom line: most people who come in for a glass of wine have two of them. You're already getting double your money back by the time the bottle's half gone.

It's such a great tactical move because it's lightweight but makes you appealing to more people at more times:

  • You can gain new regulars: If you're a beer-focused place, you're no doubt seeing a significant number of people coming in with beer drinkers who [think they] don't like beer themselves. If you have an awesome wine list to show these people, then they'll be coming back on their own.
  • Even beer drinkers want wine sometimes, and now they don't have to go somewhere else to get it.
  • Wine makes you a safe choice for large groups: they may not want to come in if they think you're only a beer place. But if you have great wine too? Then everybody can be happy.

Check out the interview clips below for more from Zach on selling wine at a beer-focused bar.

More about Mr. Zach Mack

Zach is a force in the NYC bar and restaurant world.

We at BeerMenus know him best from his Manhattan bar Alphabet City Beer Co., which he started back in 2012 with partner David Hitchner. But he owns a couple other places around NYC, too—Taco Vista and Governors Island Beer Co.—and seems to be working on a new project whenever I talk to him.

He also co-hosts an weekly podcast for Back of House called So You Want to Run a Restaurant. SYWTRAR explores the trials, triumphs, and technical difficulties of running a successful restaurant in the always changing, ever-more-competitive North American food and beverage landscape.

Suffice to say Zach knows his stuff. For more from Zach, follow him on LinkedIn/Twitter/Instagram or send him an email at zachmack [at]