Unusual business selling alcoholic beverages

Food industry Alcoholic Beverages Trade Retail

Our regular readers often turn to us with questions about how to implement this or that idea presented on the 1000 Ideas portal. Therefore, we decided to launch a new series of articles that describe how in Russian conditions it is possible to implement many projects that work successfully abroad.

Not only abroad, but also in our country, traditional business is gradually moving to the online environment. It is difficult to find goods or services that would no longer be offered on the Internet. However, there are niches where the number of offers clearly exceeds demand (for example, children's goods, household appliances), and there are segments that are only just beginning to be mastered. The latter can also include, with reservations, the market for alcoholic beverages of various strengths. Until a certain point, this segment developed rapidly. He is still considered one of the most competitive. But after the introduction in 2007 of a law banning the sale of hard liquor via the Internet, sales fell sharply. And now, many firms conduct such business illegally or semi-legally.

Of course, even now there are shops that offer their customers a wide selection of alcoholic drinks for home delivery, and "highly specialized" stores that sell only expensive wine or whiskey. However, in general, most of the proposals in this segment are not original. Meanwhile, in the West, where the competition among sellers of alcoholic beverages is equally high both on the Internet and abroad, there are a large number of unusual projects that bring their owners big profits and compare favorably with the same type of online stores.

An example of such a successful startup is, for example, the Scottish Whiskey Blender website of the Scottish company Whiskersons of Bothwell, whose visitors have the rare opportunity to independently create a new whiskey variety and come up with an original name for it.

To do this, the user, having previously confirmed that he is an adult and has the right to drink alcohol under the laws of his country, can choose any of the seven varieties of whiskey and create his own alcoholic product based on it, “adding” various components there. Then he comes up with a name for his alcoholic drink and pays for the purchase. After placing an order, Whiskey Blender employees mix all the ingredients according to the customer’s recipe, pour the resulting product into a 0.7-liter glass bottle, plug it with a cork and stick a label on it. The client receives his registered whiskey in the mail.

Of course, such a project is partly entertaining. No one guarantees that the resulting drink will have an exquisite taste (or, in general, will be suitable for ingestion). However, it does give users a rare opportunity to feel involved in the creative process. In addition, such a personalized whiskey can be a pleasant and memorable gift. Each drink created and ordered at least once is indicated by a unique digital code, and its recipe is entered into the database. In the future, the creator of this whiskey or anyone else who wants to try it, can order another bottle.

The Whiskersons of Bothwell project may well become the basis for a separate startup or an additional service of a regular liquor store. But before starting your own business, carefully study all aspects of opening such a store in your area and consult with lawyers. The fact is that a business related to the sale of alcohol has certain nuances in our country.

Obtaining a license

Trade in alcohol products of any price category has always brought great profits and has been characterized by high profitability. But regardless of whether you plan to open a regular outlet or store with home delivery of alcohol, you must first obtain a license for the sale of alcoholic beverages. And here the first difficulties arise.

To obtain a license for the sale of alcoholic beverages, it is necessary to register an LLC or a closed joint-stock company (if it is a large business, then the preferred form is OJSC). The minimum authorized capital for obtaining an alcohol license depends on whether you open only a retail outlet or an entire cafe, where alcohol will be drunk at the place of purchase, and which alcoholic beverages you intend to trade.

If we are talking about the sale of low alcohol products (up to 15% ethyl alcohol content), then the minimum amount of the authorized capital is 10 thousand rubles. If you intend to sell strong alcoholic drinks (from 15% ethyl alcohol content), then your authorized capital should be at least 300 thousand rubles if the company is included in the register of small enterprises, or one million rubles if it is not there.

In addition to the large authorized capital, the second difficulty in opening such a business is associated with the mandatory requirement for a trading room. Selling alcohol even through an online store without such premises is prohibited by Decree of the Government of the Russian Federation of September 27, 2007 No. 612 "On the Approval of the Rules for the sale of goods remotely." Paragraph 5.5 of this document reads as follows: “It is not permitted to remotely sell alcoholic products, as well as goods whose free sale is prohibited or limited by the legislation of the Russian Federation.”

Therefore, in any case, you will need to open a regular outlet for selling alcohol through an online store. Moreover, the search for the area for the store or warehouse should be started in advance - at the stage of company registration and registration with the tax service. The retail space must be at least fifty square meters (this is a mandatory requirement).

In addition, it needs to be equipped for retail trade - to purchase stands, shop windows, etc. The retail space should be located in a place with high traffic. At the same time, at the request of the law, it should not be located near children's and health-improving institutions.

When, finally, the premises will be selected, it is necessary, without wasting time, to take care of the implementation of various agreements with the SES and the fire inspection. Without them, you will not be given a license to trade in alcohol. Then, finally, you can proceed to the registration of the license for the sale of alcohol, which is issued for a period of one to five years. The list of necessary documents for obtaining licenses for the retail sale of alcoholic beverages in Moscow includes: constituent documents (charter, memorandum of association, protocol / decision on the establishment of the enterprise and on the appointment of the general director); registration documents (certificate of state registration as a legal entity, certificate of registration with the tax authority, certificate of registration of changes in case of a change in the general director and / or amendments to the constituent documents), statement of Unified State Register of Legal Entities, Goskomstat codes with decoding, document, confirming the presence of the authorized capital (fund).

In addition, it will be necessary to present documents confirming that the applicant has commercial premises in the property, in economic management, operational management or in a lease, the term of which is determined by the contract and is one year or more (at least 50 meters), a lease agreement for the right to use stationary trading facilities and storage facilities, certificate of ownership of the premises, BTI plan with an explication, payment order on payment of the state fee for issuing a license (40, 000 rubles for each year of the license), power of attorney.

This list of required documents may vary depending on the city, so first find out the procedure for obtaining a license to trade in alcohol in your area. The terms for obtaining a license are about two months.

You can either apply for this permit yourself or use the services of one of the many intermediary firms. Many of them provide an almost complete range of services, helping, among other things, to obtain the conclusion of the SES, the State Fire Inspection, conclude agreements with private security, enter the company in the register of small businesses and obtain documents from the BTI. The cost of these services varies by region. For example, obtaining an SES conclusion in Moscow will cost about 40 thousand rubles (the processing time is about 15 working days).

The list of necessary documents includes a certificate of state registration of a legal entity (PSRN), certificate of tax registration (TIN), a lease, sublease or certificate of ownership of the premises, an agreement on the export of solid waste, sanitary passport or a deratization agreement, floor building plan, previous opinion (if any). The cost of obtaining an opinion of the State Fire Inspection will cost more - in the amount of about 65-70 thousand rubles (for the capital). The deadline for receiving this document is also 15 working days. To draw up a conclusion, you need to submit a TIN, PSRN, a lease or a certificate of ownership of the premises, a floor plan of the building, an agreement for the installation of a fire alarm.

A license is issued for a specified period, after which it can be extended. Renewal is carried out in the same manner as execution - with the submission of an application and the provision of all necessary documents. Renewal applications must be submitted at least one month before the license expires. In addition, please note that in addition to the mandatory check before obtaining a license, alcohol sales outlets are additionally checked every year. In case of violations, the license may be suspended for up to six months. Moreover, the license itself is not renewed for the period of its suspension. The implementation of trade with violations or, generally, without a license threatens civil, administrative or even criminal liability.

At the stage of registration of all necessary documents, conclude agreements with wholesale suppliers of alcoholic beverages. When choosing partners, first of all, it is worth paying attention to the presence of certificates and other documents for alcohol sold by them.

Online store of alcoholic beverages

Additional documents for opening the online store of alcoholic beverages are not required, since it is considered in this case as a form of advertising. However, on your site should be indicated the company name (name) of your organization, its location (address) and mode of operation. All this information is placed on a separate page in the online store, where prominent links from any other page of the site should lead. In addition, it is recommended to duplicate some of this information (for example, the phone number by which you can place an order) on all pages.

Since we are talking about the sale of goods that are subject to licensing, you are obliged to bring to the attention of consumers information about your type of activity, license number, duration of its validity, as well as about the authority that issued this document. For non-cash payments, you will need to open a bank account, and for trading in cash or using payment cards, you will need to register and install a cash register, in accordance with the Federal Law on the Use of Control and Cash Technology (CCP) in cash payments and ( or) settlements using payment cards. " To use the electronic payment system (Webmoney, Yandex.Money), you must have a certified wallet (virtual account) in these systems.

To create an online store, you will need to purchase a domain and hosting, draw up a detailed technical task and order a studio to develop a site. All this will require about 100 thousand rubles. The amount can be either less or more, depending on the functionality of the future site. Do not forget about the promotion of your resource in search engines. Its cost depends on the region and the requests for which you are moving. Be sure to check out the changes in the requirements for alcohol advertising, which now apply to advertising on the Internet.

Of course, no one will spend money on registering an LLC and renting commercial and warehouse premises of a large area just to get the necessary licenses and open an online store. In this case, the site can act solely as an addition to offline trading, and not as an independent business. Moreover, the widespread belief that opening an online store is easier and cheaper than an ordinary one, in most cases does not correspond to reality.

The apparent savings on retail space and equipment results in commensurate or even greater costs for the development of the site, its content, support, maintenance, promotion, as well as operational and logistics processes. For an online store, as well as for a retail outlet, you need a warehouse and office (or, at least, remotely working sales managers, accountants, lawyers, administrators). In some cases, an offline store is even less costly and easier to manage. The online store itself pays off in most cases longer. But a retail store plus an Internet service for ordering home delivery of drinks can reach the level of self-sufficiency quite quickly - by the second year of work.

Far from every store selling alcoholic beverages, it makes sense to acquire your own website. First of all, it is beneficial either to large "alcoholic" supermarkets, or to specialized stores (for example, selling expensive rare wines). In these cases, the site serves as a kind of virtual storefront, giving you the opportunity to learn more about the assortment of the store and order goods with home delivery. And here there are great opportunities for the development of an online project.

For example, some companies organize their own sommelier courses for professionals and amateurs who want to learn more about noble alcoholic beverages. In the West, the so-called “subscription clubs” are gaining popularity, which, with a certain frequency, send out new types of wines or less beer to their subscribers. Club members do not know what kind of variety they will receive this month. In addition to a bottle with a drink, they are also sent various thematic booklets or magazines with background information. True, in our country, due to the unreliability of the postal service, this sales format is still not widespread.

In Russia, cosmetic products are thus sold in small bottles (with free delivery) or women's underwear. In most cases, you can subscribe for three months, six months, or a year. Shipping linens and cosmetics by mail, unlike heavy glass bottles, is cheaper and carries fewer risks. In some cases, subscription alcohol can be a successful business. For example, if you work within the same city and can deliver orders to subscribers on their own.

At least 3-3.5 million rubles will be required to open your own liquor store. If you plan to open also an online store (delivery service), this amount will increase one and a half times.

Liliya Sysoeva

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