This category includes establishments primarily engaged in the retail sale of alcoholic drinks, such as beer, ale, wine, and liquor, for consumption on the premises. The sale of food frequently accounts for a substantial portion of the receipts of these establishments.
Drinking places (Alcoholic Beverages)
In 2001, the drinking establishments primarily engaged in the retail sale of alcoholic drinks numbered 49,973, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. There were 335.2 million people employed within the industry with a shared $3.5 billion in annual payroll. In 2003, the total number of establishments reached 57,032 establishments employing 370,652 people. The industry generated approximately $11.7 billion in sales, with the average establishment accounting for $200,000. States representing the majority of drinking places were Wisconsin with 4,317, Texas with 4,034, New York with 3,980, California with 3,979, Pennsylvania with 3,547, Florida with 2,697, and Michigan with 2,318. Other significant states included Indiana, Iowa, Louisiana, Minnesota, New Jersey, and Washington.
Taverns were the largest sector within the industry, with 21,557 drinking places. Combined, they shared more than 37 percent of the market. Drinking places alone shared about 21 percent of the market. Bars and lounges represented 18.1 percent, cocktail lounges held 11.8 percent, and night clubs had 9.2 percent.
The drinking establishment industry—also knows as the bar and tavern industry—dates back to colonial America, which adopted the concept of a roadhouse tavern as a gathering place. The industry, however, is changing rapidly and may not exist in its traditional form by the beginning of the next century. By the late 1980s, some consultants and bar owners were predicting that the corner bar, which sells nothing but alcohol, was heading toward its demise. By way of adaptation, bars and lounges, which serve food and even emphasize the sales of food items over alcoholic beverages have been gaining in popularity relative to establishments that sell beer, wine, and cocktails exclusively.
A profile of the bar and tavern industry in terms of what percentage of the market is represented by larger concerns, such as major hotel lounges versus independently owned taverns, doesn't exist. However, the leading trade association of licensed servers of alcoholic beverages boasted 20,000 members throughout the 1990s.
The small neighborhood bar, the sports bar with menu, the brew pub, and the hotel lounge are generally spread throughout urban and suburban centers in the United States. While they may differentiate themselves in image, ambiance, and type of product served (some, for instance, serve only beer), they often coexist in close proximity to one another. Many have live entertainment, such as music, or associations with celebrities, such as sports bars bearing the name of their athlete-owner.
Most eating and drinking establishments are small, independent operations. In fact, in 1997, more than 70 percent of all establishments employed fewer than 20 employees. Despite the small nature of the industry outfits, drinking places generate more than $130 billion in business activity such as wages, payments, and sales. Furthermore, sales by on-premise retailers generate more than $2.5 billion in revenue for state and local government, according to the National Licensed Beverage Association.
The use of fermented beverages in celebratory rituals and social gatherings has been documented in many parts of the world throughout its history. The public roadhouse was developed by the Romans in the first century A.D. as they built their infrastructure of paved roads. The word pub, in fact, is shortened from "public house," a stopping place for the traveler to rest both himself and his horse...