Running a Tab: A Look at a Month’s Alcohol Sales in San Antonio

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Bartender Jordan Corney pours an ingredient to a craft cocktail. Photo by Scott Ball.

Scott Ball / Rivard Report

Bartender Jordan Corney pours out a craft cocktail at Bohanan's.

Bars, restaurants, and catering companies in San Antonio grossed more than $44 million in sales from beer, wine, and liquor in January, according to recent data from the Texas Comptroller's office.

These sales generated almost $3 million dollars in state tax revenue. Bexar County, meanwhile, reported nearly $46 million in alcohol sales.

Businesses holding alcohol permits in Texas must file a monthly report that discloses the total revenue from on-site sales of alcoholic beverages, including mixed beverages.

In each of the interactive graphics below created by the Rivard Report, each bubble represents an establishment licensed to sell alcohol. Hover over each bubble to see the establishment's name and sales figures. 

In January, the top three grossers in San Antonio included Aramark Sports & Entertainment ($847,842), which supplies the AT&T Center; Hospitality International LLC ($824,120), which supplies the JW Marriott San Antonio Hill Country Resort; and DH San Antonio Bevco LLC ($520,160), which supplies the La Cantera Resort & Spa ($520,160).

Smaller establishments also had high-volume sales, including Hotel Emma ($379,249) at the Pearl, Northside strip club Sugar's ($260,193), The Esquire ($224,350) downtown, Mad Dogs on the River Walk ($249,800), George's Keep ($135,945) in La Cantera, Blue Box ($113,535) at the Pearl, and Bar 1919 ($99,511) in Southtown.

Businesses that sell a lot of liquor also tend to sell a lot of beer. However, establishments that sell more wine tend to sell less beer and liquor. Apart from the top three grossers, Howl at the Moon made the most revenue from liquor sales in January, and Bohanan's Steakhouse edged out Ruth's Chris's Steakhouse for top wine sales.

Teresa Gasca, 28, has been a bartender for six years at Dads, a karaoke bar near Vance Jackson at Loop 410.

“I would agree that we sell more cocktails than beer or wine," she said. "As far as cocktails, our Pink Dragon is pretty popular here." A Pink Dragon is made using Bacardi rum, Malibu rum, and fruit punch.

"Here at this bar, people are taking shots all the time," she said.

Dads grossed $37,175 in liquor sales in January, making up 62 percent of its total alcohol sales for that month.

Liquor sales account for the greatest percentage of mixed beverage revenue in San Antonio because liquor and cocktails generally cost more than beer or wine. Liquor-based drinks accounted for 57 percent of mixed beverage sales at Hotel Emma, and 86 percent of alcohol sales at the popular Northside Mexican restaurant La Fogata.

Businesses downtown and on the Northside tend to have higher gross alcohol sales. Out of 951 establishments that reported revenue from mixed beverage sales, the top 50-grossing locations represent nearly 30 percent of all alcohol sales in San Antonio, and are mostly located downtown and along Loops 410 and 1604.

In Texas, the total gross mixed-beverage receipts reported includes a sales tax that is paid by the customer, which is remitted to the State. The sales tax on alcoholic beverages has been in effect since 2014.

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