Blog Post

What are the Costs of Over Pouring and How You Can Limit It in your Establishment

Last Updated: July 19, 2024

Photo by Hermes Rivera on Unsplash

Wine over pouring is a major source of frustration for wine bar owners and managers. There are significant revenue losses associated with overpouring that can cause you to wonder why your margins are so low. Not only does it create significant revenue losses, but it is also an occurrence that can create liability and customer service issues for individuals imbibing on the fine—and expensive—libations that you offer for sale.

There are several methodologies that you begin utilizing to mitigate this problem, including staff training, bar audits, and offering your team the tools they need to meet your goals. Fortunately, technology has caught up with today’s needs and gives you an opportunity to be more accurate in your assessment and mitigating losses in your wine by the glass program by using wine dispensers that track sales against pours.

In this post, we address what over pouring is, how it affects your business, and what you can do to prevent it from happening.

What is Over Pouring?

Beer, liquor, and wine over pouring is the occurrence of bar staff giving patrons more alcohol than for what they paid. It is a significant problem for wine bars that results in roughly $10 billion in shrinkage losses every year in the United States.

Wine over pouring may be intentional or unintentional, depending upon the experience level and knowledge of your bartenders. In an industry that gives generously, it is easy for bartenders to justify the occurrence of over pouring by mistakenly believing that your establishment stands to earn even more profit when customers are happy. While that assertion may be favorably true for the customer, the profit increases of over pouring do not outweigh the benefits of keeping those drink levels in check.

There are a few signs and symptoms associated with the identification of over pouring drinks. You can observe staff members to determine if they are using the required measurement tools.
However, these manual methods may not foster a culture where you are actively monitoring staff over pours, which means that you should conduct a more proactive approach to the problem of over pouring and how you plan to stop it from happening in your establishment.

How Does Over Pouring Affect your Business?

Wine over pouring affects your business in many ways. From revenue losses to inconsistent expectations, there is no good that comes from a bar culture that supports giving customers more than for what they are paying.

Here are a few ways in which over pouring costs your wine bar significantly:

  1. Over-serving customers: Depending upon the state you live in, your establishment may be subject to the amount of alcohol you can serve to customers. Giving them “a little” extra is a sentiment that can increase your liability. For example, if you are limited to serving 10 ounces, but your bartenders add an extra 1.5 ounces for every 5-ounce glass, that is an additional 3 ounces that your customers are drinking, which exceeds your hypothetical legal limit by 130 percent.
  2. Every ounce over poured digs at profits: Aside from public safety, revenue loss is the biggest concern for bar owners. Statistics show that every ounce of wine over pour eats away at 20 percent of your profits. That number is significant, considering that the customer didn’t provide the revenue to support the costs. Establishing a wine preservation system is critical to preventing this occurrence.
  3. Over pouring causes service issues: If your team inconsistently serves customers, their actions will directly impact customer service expectations. For example, an extra generous bartender will likely attract customers looking for a steal of a deal and only enter your establishment when he or she is working. Word-of-mouth will support their expectations and only bring in more customers, who want to get a massive discount on their alcohol consumption. They may express dissatisfaction when other, more conscientious bartenders are serving.

As you can see, the impacts of wine over pouring create several problems throughout your entire establishment. Therefore, it is critical to establish protocols under a wine by the glass program to ensure consistency, safety, and revenue generation. Failing to do so only contributes to the above-referenced issues and becomes more difficult to manage over time.

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Solutions for your Wine By The Glass Program

The good news is that there are practices that you can put into place to help prevent wine over pouring in your establishment. Auditing your problem areas, using the right tools, staff training, and technology systems are excellent, cost-effective ways that you can use to save yourself the major headache and hassle when dealing with the negative effects of over pouring.

Here are a few actions you can deploy starting today:

  • Audit and evaluate your wine preservation system: The first step in mitigating wine over pouring begins by taking an inventory of where your losses are most occurring. Is it during a particular shift? Is it isolated to a particular product? Are unsavory customers placing pressure on your team? Answering these relevant questions will help you understand where to begin looking for issues.
  • Use professional, commercial-grade tools: Ensuring that your measuring tools support your guidelines is critical to the success in preventing over pouring. You can’t exactly blame staff members for faulty equipment. Using a commercial and automated portion-controlled Wineemotion wine dispenser, wine decanters, and appropriately sized glasses with visual cues can help you cut down on the losses and liabilities associated with over pouring.
  • Foster the right company culture: Your staff members look to you for guidance and direction in determining the difference between right and wrong. Therefore, make sure that you are following your own rules when it comes to serving family members and friends. Provide ongoing staff training and education keeps them aware that this strategy is important.
  • Deploy a wine preservation system that works: With the technological advances that the 21st century provides, preventing over pouring is easier than ever before. Using a Wineemotion wine dispenser, and wine preservation system that is supported by automation, analytics, and data logging can help you quickly identify issues as they crop up or predict them before they occur.

Better inventory control, ongoing training, and increased monitoring can all be accomplished under a single solution. Doing so will save you the hassle and legwork of deploying a manual program in favor of automated tasks.

By incorporating the preceding practices in your establishment, you can effectively mitigate the damaging effects of wine over pouring. A wine preservation system, like Wineemotion, can facilitate your goals under a cost-efficient solution. When your staff is aware that you can measure their actions with empirical evidence, they are much more likely to forgo pouring that extra ounce when serving customers.

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Stop Over Pouring With Wineemotion Systems

You can stop over pouring problems with Wineemotion systems™. Since 2003, we have established a solid, professional reputation for helping wine and bar owners mitigate the symptoms associated with over pouring. Our patented technology utilizes features that prevent cross-aromatic contamination while preserving your wine for more than thirty days.

Contact the Wineemotion™ team by calling 800.671.3317 or emailing us at for more information regarding how our wine preservation system can help you.

About Wineemotion

Wine dispensers by Wineemotion™ USA are the perfect complement to any wine-by-the-glass program. Wineemotion™ is the creation of Riccardo Gosi, the internationally renowned creator of modern day wine dispensing systems that have transformed how wine is sold and served worldwide since 2003. Our patented wine dispenser technology eliminates cross aromatic contamination, preserves wine for over 30 days and increases profit by optimizing your wine-by-the-glass program.