Beverage Manager Job Description

For people looking for a career that allows them to exercise strong customer service and interpersonal skills while working with diverse clientele in a fast-paced environment, then here’s a profession they can raise a glass to: beverage manager.

Sometimes referred to as bar managers, these professionals oversee the beverage program for bars, restaurants, catering companies, or cruise ships, which includes keeping inventory, creating beverage menus, and training staff. As leaders in the food and beverage industry, they keep themselves schooled on popular alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages to present the most desired products to customers. Beverage managers typically work on a full-time basis and often work long hours, including evenings and weekends.


Beverage Manager Duties and Responsibilities

In any venue, beverage managers are typically assigned the same major duties and responsibilities. We have examined several job listings and found the following most commonly associated with this occupation:

Create Beverage Program

In one of their most important roles, beverage managers develop beverage programs, which includes what types of drinks to offer, which brands of liquor to use, pricing, and other menu aspects. This includes creating wine lists, beer selections, and cocktail items.

Order Beverages and Maintain Inventory

Beverage managers order adequate supplies of liquor and non-alcoholic drinks and maintain a sufficient inventory. This duty involves forecasting and keeping track of which drinks are most in demand. In addition, beverage managers must ensure a supply of non-drink bar items, such as snacks, napkins, mixers, and drink garnishes.

Manage Staff Training and Schedules

The training and scheduling of bar staff typically falls to a beverage manager. They train bartenders and bar wait staff and create schedules for all full- and part-time employees associated with mixing and serving drinks.

Generate and Manage Cost Reports

Beverage managers are assigned to oversee the cost of inventory and supplies and submit reports on a periodic basis. They review cost increases, communicate with vendors to review charges, and apply strategies to lower costs when possible.


Beverage Manager Skills and Qualifications

Quick-thinking leaders who can adapt to daily change in the workplace and consistently meet customer demands make for successful beverage managers. The following highlights those skills and abilities commonly mentioned in many beverage manager job listings:

  • Business Management – From accounting to marketing, beverage managers apply many business-related skills to oversee bar operations
  • Bartending Skills – Training bartenders is one aspect of being a beverage manager; the ability to mix drinks and knowledge of a wide variety of alcoholic drinks is a plus for those in this role
  • Conflict Management – Whether it’s an argument between patrons or tension between bar staff members, beverage managers are always ready to apply effective conflict resolution skills
  • Customer Service – It’s up to beverage managers to make sure that all patrons are served properly and responsibly and to create a fun atmosphere in their bar or restaurant
  • Communication – Strong verbal communication skills are needed to converse with patrons, workers, vendors, and bar/restaurant owners
  • Team Building – Beverage managers are responsible for hiring staff and building a successful team
  • Organizational Skills – Keeping an orderly bar and storage area go a long way toward maintaining proper inventory and a safe environment for workers and patrons
  • Math Skills – Maintaining a budget and generating cost reports call for strong math skills


Beverage Manager Education and Training

In many cases, completion of a postsecondary degree program is not a requirement for becoming a beverage manager, though some employers may look more favorably upon candidates who hold a bachelor’s degree in hospitality management, restaurant management, business administration, or a related area. Often, beverage managers start working in an establishment as a server or bartender and work their way up to beverage manager, training and learning the industry through hands-on experience.


Beverage Manager Salary

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that the median annual salary for beverage managers is $50,820. Annually, those in the 10th percentile earn a median salary of approximately $29,000, while those in the 90th percentile earn just over $87,000. Beverage managers working in special food services ($60,910) and bars ($58,870) tend to earn higher mean annual salaries than those working in restaurants ($53,210). New Jersey tops the list for the highest mean annual salary for beverage managers ($75,880), followed by Florida ($73,070) and Delaware ($71,910).

For employment growth, the BLS states that beverage managers can expect to see a 9 percent growth rate through 2026. It is believed that dining out and ordering drinks will continue to be on the rise during this time period, with more restaurants and catering services expected to open their doors to meet increased demand.

Helpful Resources

Do you think a career as a beverage manager is for you? If so, we’ve compiled some resources that can help to get you started:

National Restaurant Association (NRA) – The largest association of its kind in the world, NRA provides resources and support for beverage managers and foodservice managers. There are webinars, study groups, networking opportunities, and even an annual show where managers can view exhibits, join in competitions, and more.

ManageFirst: Bar and Beverage Management with Answer Sheet (2nd edition) – As part of the ManageFirst program from the National Restaurant Association, this book reviews bar management strategies, practices, and tips. This guide also includes case studies, professional profiles, and even learning activities you can try for yourself.

Food & Beverage Magazine – The beverage section of this magazine, which has been in publication for more than 20 years, offers drink reviews and recipes that are helpful to any beverage manager.

Social Hospitality – This food and beverage industry blog, which focuses on trends and best practices in the hospitality world, provides tips about customer service, increasing revenue, marketing, and cost management.

Beverage Industry Magazine – Get a feel for what consumers want with this magazine. Readers can review beverage delivery innovations and find out which wines are performing best at any given time. This digital publication is essentially a must-read for industry news and trends for anyone working as or wishing to become a beverage manager.

Barcode TSI: The Service Industry Podcast – This site presents in-depth interviews with bar owners, bartenders, and beverage managers to help aspiring professionals get started and find success in this field.

How to Manage a Successful Bar – From drink recipes to staff motivation, this book by Christopher Egerton-Thomas explores the managerial and customer service tactics that successful beverage managers should employ in the bar industry.

Raise the Bar: An Action-Based Method for Maximum Customer Reactions – Written by the man who created and has applied this managerial method to run successful bars and restaurants, this book presents everything a beverage manager needs to do to be successful in this career.


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