You are here:

Beverage Distribution/Just looking for information


Hello, a friend of mine are trying to start off as a small beverage and beer distributor. I am just looking for some information on maybe some start up costs and permits that may need required. Also maybe some things i should look for in the property we intend to use for the business.

Hello Brandon,

Not being from Pennsylvania I can only guess but it's more than likely you'll need a license and have to follow some procedures and file documents in order to distribute alcohol in your region.  You might get some help from some of your suppliers.

You generally need to carry inventory and extend credit to customers; though I've been out of the US for years, just a couple of days ago I was talking to somebody else about the start up costs in Central Europe - there, the cost of living is about 1/4 of the US but gas is double, sales tax (a funding cost is quadruple) and the goods themselves are the same as the US.  His estimate was 200K USD in funding to get operational - he planned on 2 delivery routes, 80 SKUs from 3 major names.

Items to consider:-
- legal work
- registration
- leases
- vehicles
- insurance
- inventory
- securing deals with manufacturers (this will be expensive as undoubtedly you'll be buying from somebody who already has the deal for the area you plan; and might already be delivering to the same customers you plan).

In the property:-
- consider your delivery territory
- how you can secure it, insure it, etc.
- ease of getting in and out for vehicles
- overflow
- dealing with damaged product
- housing vehicles / equipment needing service
- racking
- picking orders
- control & audit
- how the flow of orders will affect picking, etc.

Outside of beer, Alcohol tends to be a product that gets ordered by the single unit.  That leads to breakage and shrinkage; try to avoid such if possible - sell by the case.

Do you have recycling laws?  That can have a massive impact on collection, fuel, storage, meeting sanitary rules...

Beverage Distribution

All Answers

Answers by Expert:

Ask Experts


Eric Hofer


Over 27 years experience, with 17 in international FMCG in back office operations and in field sales and data collection, including design, development and deployment of Handhelds, Marketing Equipment (Service, Tracking and Return on Investment), reporting and Vending management. Have participated on the launch of operations in new markets, and re-engineered the back office in several countries.


Designed and led the development and deployment internal ERP system for Pepsi used in On-Premise/Vending in 13 markets. Designed 2 handheld systems, the latest is now deployed in 4 markets internationally. Re-engineered the back office functions (settlements, despatch, invoicing, credit control, etc) for over 20 snack, confectionary and beverage operators. Developing software: Progress, VB, Access, C, Sybase, SA

Innovative-Selling Solutions; SalesSuite


State University of New York - BA Economics NYU - Courant - Graduate work - Computing

Awards and Honors
Moderator of LinkedIn CEE Group

Past/Present Clients
PepsiAmericas PepsiCola International PepsiCola Company British Steel British Telecom Britvic (Pepsi's bottler in the UK) AT&T BellSouth Mars Overseas Bottling Pepsi France Matutano (Frito-Lay Spain) Frito-Lay Pepsi Foods International Chase Manhattan Bank Kidder Peabody National Power SmithKline Beecham Mars Overseas Bottling (Pepsi Azerbaijan) A&P Bottling (Pepsi Serbia & Montenegro) Iberia Bottlers (Pepsi Georgia)

©2017 All rights reserved.