Do you want to increase sales in your bar by arranging liquor bottles creatively? If YES, here are a few tips and tricks on how to arrange liquor bottles in a bar. Starting and managing a bar can be a wonderful way to spend time with friendly customers, meet new people, and also enjoy incredible profits over time. However, to run a successful bar requires a good deal of knowledge, preparation, and a few organizational tips.

A well-organized bar runs more efficiently, and customers are always able to sense this. When your bar is well organized, your customers will get their drinks in a more timely fashion. Also, you are less likely to waste money on purchasing liquor and other products that you don’t need.

A well-designed bar can increase sales by surprising and exciting customers. Thoughtfully laying out the liquor bottles can also increase your bartenders’ efficiency and prevent bottle breakage. Although the best bar design varies from case to case, there are a few universal principles that you can follow while laying out the bottles on your bar.

Why Is It Important to Properly Arrange your Liquor Bottles?

A popular bar may receive hundreds of drink orders in a single evening. Note that keeping up with these orders can be very challenging unless there is a stipulated system by which orders are entered and filled by the bartender. Most bars in the United States leverage a computerized order entry system that displays, for the bartender, the drinks that need to be made in the order in which they need to be made.

Nonetheless, a computerized system is not always a necessity. Penning down these drink orders on order sheets and placing these on an order carousel is a cost-effective way to make sure your customers get their drinks immediately and without having to wait for the skies to fall.

Also, note that the arrangement of the liquor bottles behind the bar is the attribute of an effective bar. Displaying your bottles in an aesthetically pleasing way is just as crucial as displaying them in a way that is easily accessible to the bartender.

Steps by Step Guide on How to Arrange Liquor Bottles in a Bar

The difference between working at a bar and managing a successful bar can really come down to how good you manage your inventory. Having too much on hand can eat away at profits; skimping on taking inventory can also set you up for failure. Nonetheless, here are four steps to arrange your Liquor bottles to make them visually appealing and your bar operationally efficient:

1. Analyze Your Space

Note that just like you start building a house from the foundation, so does arranging your Liquor bottles start with the analysis and evaluation of the physical space, including an assessment of how many products can actually fit.

  • Stay realistic. One of the most important rules when analysing your space is realizing that the number of products you can carry is limited. Most bartenders and bar managers in the United States completely ignore this fact, piling up extra products, which ultimately affects the bar’s functionality and appearance.
  • Count the spots. Do not forget to count not only how many bottles you can fit, but also how many spaces are available. Note that liquor bottles are not meant to be positioned behind one another (except on raised steps), and longer bars must account for duplicates of commonly used products so they can be mirrored. Always remember to keep extra space around premium products to showcase them.
  • Stay flexible. Always try to designate a few spots for temporary items, such as promo bottles or products you want guests to try. This will indeed give you some flexibility without compromising your permanent layout.

2. Create Sections

After you must have analyzed how many liquor bottles can fit in your bar, allocate spaces among the main spirit classifications. This process also will determine the arrangement sections.

  • Spirit genres. Note that your bottles and bar should be organized by spirit. Your seven main sections will be vodka, rum, gin, tequila, liqueurs, brandy and Cognac and whiskey, which will be divided into Bourbon, Scotch, Irish, etc.
  • Sub-genres. It might be ideal to further classify these sections into more specific sub-genres. These are more flexible than the main categories and can include groups such as flavoured vodkas or liqueurs of similar flavour profiles.
  • Top shelf. Remember that your most premium products should be displayed prominently on a special “top shelf,” which should be elevated but does not literally need to be the top shelf. Always make sure to respect this space because having lower-end brands in this area detracts customers from the high-end message you are trying to send. In addition, consider showcasing these brands with a little extra space, some lighting or other elements to call attention to.

3. Bottle Placement

Also before you assign each bottle a position, you are expected to decide which products will be in your speed rack because they may not need to be on the back bar.

  • Have it in mind that grouping products from the same brand (DeKuyper liqueurs, Stoli flavours) is aesthetically pleasing and further helps in guests’ visual navigation of your bar. You also should place high-end brands in more prominent positions.
  • More commonly purchased products should be placed on lower shelves and closer to the well for quicker access.
  • Also note that similarly coloured bottles look good next to one another, as do tall and short bottles, respectively. Obviously, short bottles should never be placed behind tall ones.

Some bars in the United States illuminate their liquor bottles because the sight of glowing bottles tends to be quite pleasing to consumers. Lit bottles of liquor may attract a customer’s attention and entice them to purchase “top shelf” drinks that use expensive liquors.

Normally, the costlier bottles of liquor are organized in a place of prominence on the top shelf, which is where the term “top shelf” liquor gets its name. Inexpensive liquors, often known to as well liquors, are placed within easy reach.

Glasses used for different cocktails in your bar must be well organized so that a bartender can easily get the glass needed for a particular drink. Highball glasses and old fashioned glasses are more or less stacked next to one another, as these are the most common beverage glasses.

While wine glasses and martini glasses can be arranged from inverted racks beneath bar shelves, this is because it keeps them safely out of the way so they will not be accidentally broken. Two very important tools that help in creating an efficient and streamlined bar operation experience are a jigger and a shaker.

Jiggers are bartender tools used to measure out liquor. Note that a lot of bartenders prefer to have several jiggers on hand so that a clean one is always available. Shakers are also used to make chilled beverages. Have it in mind that the best shakers come with straining attachments so that the drink can be poured into a glass without the ice.

Separate strainers should be made available which can be placed inside the rim of a glass to keep the ice out of a drink. However, note that all of these guidelines cannot be followed simultaneously, so try different options to find the right balance for your establishment.

4. Ensure Permanence

Even though the merchandising value of a well-set liquor arrangement is undeniable, one of the primary reasons it needs to be organized is to maximize bartender speed. Note that when every product has a set place, your bartenders can easily grab each bottle almost without looking. Familiarity ensures speed, and familiarity comes with consistency. Leverage the following strategies to ensure your layout remains consistent:

  • Meeting or email announcement. Consider making an official notification that the layout has been changed and must be followed.
  • Picture or diagram. Also, a well detailed visual image should be made and placed behind the bar for quick reference.
  • Although labour intensive, labelling each spot will help create the layout definitively.
  • Get staff input. Note that workers are more likely to follow a layout they helped create, so be sure to involve your staff early in this process.

5 Tips to Remember When Arranging Liquor Bottles in a Bar

Indeed, arranging liquor bottles in your bar can be one of the most stressful tasks but yet very crucial to the success of your bar. The good news is that there are some simple tips you can leverage when organising your stock to enable you to streamline the inventory process.

1. Find an organizational method that works for you

Have it in mind that being consistent with where you place bottles will help employees to find them more quickly during service hours. One tip is to store wine bottles in the same order that they appear on the menu. This will enable your bartenders to get used to the menu and be able to provide fast and efficient service.

You will also have to worry less about an employee disappearing into the stockroom during peak hours to hunt down a certain bottle. In terms of liquor bottle arrangement, this same organizational approach can save you time. It will ensure you start at the same spot every time and work your way around in the same direction.

2. Always label your shelves

Also, note that some simple shelving labels can go a long way to helping the liquor room stay organized and entail that everyone knows that each bottle has a place. This simple tip makes the most sense especially when you create storage sections based on the type of liquor.

3. Leverage inventory counting technology

Note there are plenty of products in the market that will allow you to scan barcodes and upload inventory to your computer. By using these technologies, you can view real-time graphs and visuals of your existing inventory and make suggestions for what to order and when. There is no reason to waste time manually counting and writing down records.

4. Avoid crowding your storage room

Coupled with liquor, wine and beer, there are probably a lot of other supplies you need to store. Note that even towels and toilet paper stock can start taking over if you let it. As much as possible, always strive to keep your other supplies separate from your drink inventory. This will help prevent employees from coming in and moving a few bottles here and there to throw some other items on the shelves.

5. Find an inventory method that works for you

Once it is actually time to take inventory, it is advisable you experiment with different methods to find one that works best for you. Note that a lot of people prefer for inventory to be a solitary event in order to prevent any mistakes. Others use a team approach where one person calls out the name of the liquor and another person reports back with a number. However, always know and stick with what works best for you and your bar.


Given the amount of money spent on flat screens, chandeliers and lighting, it is perplexing how little effort most bar operators put into one of the undeniably important focal points of their operation: Liquor arrangements. Have it in mind that establishing and following a few best practices when it comes to organizing bar inventory will definitely go a long way to making everyone’s life easier. At the very least, drinks will flow faster, and you will spend less time taking inventory.