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Cocktails Gone Viral (Pt1)

how to make money with virtual mixology

In our last blog post, we posted an in-depth article about alternative ways to make money for bartenders and bar owners. Based on the feedback we received, it appears that most of you loved the idea of bartending classes! My email flooded with questions all relating to the same theme–How do online mixology workshops work and how can I make money doing one?

As part of a 2-week series, you will receive the key tools and strategies we used to create and monetize our virtual workshops. And ready for this….This doesn’t mean that you need to run out and max out a credit card (or that state unemployment card, ahem) just so you can have every bartending tool to show off in the background. Honestly, you don’t need all of that right now! Because let’s be honest, the point of this is to make money, not spend more. So, to be clear-You do not need to be stationed at a professional bar with a big fancy camera and you don’t need to own a cocktail catering company to host virtual classes. Start where you are now, start today.  

I’m here to tell you, there is a HUGE demand for this service. You can make significant money designing and hosting these workshops. So, if you are ready to step out of your comfort zone and try something new, this post is for you.

This week we will look into designing your virtual service, setting up your prices and creating a narrative for your brand. Next week we will shift our attention to finding and booking clients and generating an income for virtual class making workshops. So let’s get started. 

Design an Offer Package

Before you start promoting and reaching out to potential customers, it’s important to know exactly what it is that you are offering. This will make you feel more confident and it will make you look really organized! 

What does this look like for you? Do you love making flyers and love getting creative and artsy? Awesome, make a kick-ass flyer/brochure/PDF. If this is not what you want to spend your time on, that’s fine too! The bottom line here is—you need to have something tangible that is always ready to send out. You can decide how much content you want to add to this document but at the bare minimum, your package needs to state what you do, what’s included, and the cost. 

 ***Pro-Tip: Besides the cocktail lecture itself, are you planning on sending the virtual attendees a cocktail kit, or would they have to provide tools, mixers, alcohol, etc.? Assembling your cocktail kit will depend on whether you have a liquor license or not. Currently, because of COVID-19, most states are temporarily allowing retailers to sell alcoholic beverages with takeout food. If you have a liquor license, you can take advantage of this temporary permission slip. If you are a bartender, you can either provide a service and cocktail kits without the booze or look into partnering up with a local bar. But remember, this is ONLY if you want to provide that service—the kit is an upsell—you can scale slow and have all of your attendees be 100% responsible for the shopping list.*** 

Set Up Your Pricing Like a Pro!

Setting up pricing for a virtual workshop will vary depending on your location, your service and the cocktail kit that you will provide (given that you want to provide one). The location will determine your labor cost (or how much your time is worth). When we work with companies, it is nearly impossible to charge per head (unless we are sending individual kits) so we’ve taken a slightly different approach to pricing. We have developed a formula that will help you set a fair and competitive price. It will also spare you the time having to investigate how many people are attending your workshop. The formula looks like this:

Average bar shift tips in your town divided by the average length of a bar shift in your town + min wage in your state. It might look something like this

Tips ($200) ÷ Hours (6hour) + Min Wage ($12) = Your wage ($ 45/hour)

Typical mixology workshops last between 30 minutes to 2 hours. However, when calculating your labor cost, it’s important to include the time you spent developing and marking the workshop, the time you spent corresponding with your client, and the time you spent prepping and setting up. We call this production. Whether your class is 30 mins or 2 hours, I recommend pricing your labor based on 8 to 10 hours. This is a fair price and it should be sufficient to cover all your time and costs (booze being your cost).

To add value to your service, offer one or two 30-minute practice sessions where you can test the streaming platform, and work out all the kinks before going live. This is especially important if you are working with a corporate client with numerous attendees. Your cocktail kit will depend greatly on what you decide to include and how you would like to markup your costs. Make sure you include shipping prices. 

 Cocktail Kit

We happen to work with many corporate clients who want to pamper their employees with beautiful cocktail supplies but don’t have time to assemble, ship, and track numerous bartending kits. Supplying a cocktail kit is a great way to add value for your customers and put more money into your pocket. Not to mention, providing a cocktail kit gives you the ability to include homemade ingredients like syrups, shrubs, juices, etc., which only adds to the custom experience you are providing. 

Our cocktail kits typically include small bottles with custom labels, small shakers, a bar spoon, jigger, decorative paper, and, of course, the box itself. Make sure you BRAND your package. Luckily, with online providers like Avery and VistaPrint, making custom labels, recipe cards and flyers is very easy and affordable. If you are working with a company, make sure that you include their logo(s) on your marketing materials.

virtual mixology workshop

If you don’t have a liquor license—no problem, you can include all of the supporting ingredients/tools/etc. and simply request that the client provide the alcohol.

Cocktail Concepts 

Coming up with the concept of your virtual mixology workshop and what you will be teaching/demonstrating needs to be thoughtfully planned. If you are providing the cocktail kit, you have much more flexibility, as you can add signature homemade ingredients.

If the client(s) are providing everything for the cocktails, make sure you have a detailed list of the alcohol and equipment needed for the workshop. We know this might make things a bit more challenging, but try sticking to liqueurs, syrups, juices and produce that are easy to find in the local store. Additionally, consider the price when suggesting brands of liquors. Lastly, try to request more versatile brands – no one wants to spend a good chunk of money on liqueur that will collect dust on the shelf after your class is over. 

Bring value to your workshop by coaching your attendees on how to use all the spirits and liqueurs in the future. The whole premise of our mixology workshops is that craft cocktails don’t need to be hard to make to have complexity in taste. At the end of the day, we are not teaching professional bartenders. We are providing average people with an entertaining experience, inspiration, a little fun, and hopefully applicable knowledge they can use at home. Beginner to intermediate mixology techniques like shaking, stirring, measuring, infusing, and making clear ice are sure-fire crowd-pleasers. 

Next week we will dive deeper into the strategies we use to find clients and generate income. Before we gear up to cash some checks, here is a little homework. But don’t worry! No complex equations to solve here. Nail the answers to these questions and you will be in good shape for next week make making session.

What is your class concept? i.e. “I want to teach people how to make real Tiki Cocktails at Home”

Your service description? i.e “How to Tiki at Home – Contemporary hands-on tiki drink-making online class coupled with pro tips, funny stories, and lots of cheers.”

Who is Teaching the class? i.e. “Professional Mixologist and Tiki Dreamer (your name)”

Who is your class intended for and what would the attendees get out of it? i.e “This class is designed for the tiki drink imbiber, who prefers more flavor and fewer umbrellas! Learn how to make badass Tiki drinks at home with products you can find at your local store.”

Do you offer different packages? What are they? How much do they cost? What do they include?  

“Class with Own Supplies $?? – Full list of tools and supplies. One trip to Bevmo is all it takes 🙂 3 cocktails + live Q&A.”

Class with Non-Alcoholic Essentials $?? – We supply the goods, you supply the spirit. 3 cocktails + live Q&A.”

Class with Everything Included $??We got you covered. Everything you need shipped right to you. 3 cocktails + live Q&A.”

We took our narrative and made it digital. And you can do it too. Don’t you worry if you know nothing about digital design. Websites like Picmonkey or Canva provide user friendly, cost-effective design solutions for beginners.


See you all next week!

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