A bottle store or bottle shop sells wine, spirits, liquor off-consumption – for consumption only away from the premises. So we not talking about a tavern or a “yaart”. This business requires a license to operate legally, a lot of people especially on lower socio-economic areas don’t go through the hassle and they just operate a “smokkie” on consumption, off consumption whatever. But then you risk raids and confiscation. Interestingly I heard more and more places are being granted licenses even in residential areas so the ANC can get the tax money and pay SASSA grants. Yes, yes, full circle here as well: this industry is a MAJOR beneficiary of SASSA grants to the tune of billions per month.

How to start
There are three ways to start a bottle store in SA
DIY – Most work but cheapest. Do everything yourself.
Package – Liquor shop in a box – other people doing the running around for you, registering a business, getting the licence etc I often compare this to registering a business with CIPC directly or via a agency or third party. Nothing you can’t do yourself but you never know – they could be able to get a licence via bribes when you cant.
Franchise – Most expensive, known brand, air cover, cheaper stock maybe.

Now a liquor store has less work (red tape) than a on consumption venue but has much lower margin due to its retail model (“koop en loop”). The question is how much shopping around do people really do outside of a mall? If you in a good location – lots of homeless people for example you will make good money even if you more expensive than the retail majors (Pnp, Shoprite, Spar tops etc.) .

There is going to be capital needed but from a regulatory perspective this is not something you can’t do yourself. But apparently like water rights, the liquor board doles out liquor licenses to non-whites quicker. If you are caucasian, get a tan and wear a Madiba shirt or get your gardener to front for you. True story they do look at skin colour. Even the gambling industry, slot machine guys (Grand Slots, VSlots) factor skin colour in applications. They were begging my brown friend to put slots machines in his pub to get their numbers up, paid him a ton of money up front. They even gave him money for shit unrelated to the gambling area renovations.

Image credit: David Shankbone