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New Daily Deals Site Focuses on Beer, Wine, Liquor

Darien resident Dan Miller has started a company that offers daily discount deals on beer, wine and liquor at area bars and restaurants.

Imagine a website like Groupon or Living Social that concentrates on offering discounts for alcoholic beverages (often combined with discounts on meals) at bars, restaurants and liquor stores in your area.

That's what Dan Miller of Darien did. Now he's the founder and president of BevBucks.com. His new business, which started offering deals in New York City earlier this year, also helps promote products with events at bars and restaurants.

Miller says the business should help alcoholic beverage companies get the word out about their products, especially new ones, help bars and restaurants get new customers in the door and help you get a discount. You may even fall in love with the product.

Wednesday event in Stamford

Run from Miller's home in Darien, the business has just expanded to Fairfield County, with its first Connecticut event Wednesday night. The launch party for Batch 19, a "pre-Prohibition style lager" from Coors, will be held at Bar Q, located behind the in downtown Stamford.

BevBucks and Bar Q are offering two pints of the beer with a barbecue meal at $20 for one person, including a Batch 19 pint glass to take home. For two people, the offer is for $35.

"Guests may accompany this refreshing beer with a choice of any Snack, BBQ selection and Fixin’ on the menu," BevBucks said in a recent announcement. "Batch 19 and BevBucks representatives will be on site with Batch 19 samples, glassware, giveaways and door prizes."

Competitive edge

Liquor companies have been holding promotional events at bars and restaurants for decades, and sites like Groupon and Living Social are past masters at providing discounts for all sorts of products and services. Miller says his website makes it easy for people looking for drink or food-and-drink deals to find the discounts what they want, and often get introduced to something new at the same time.

A promotional event combined with an online discount means that the products aren't only offered to people already in a restaurant or bar, Miller said, but to people who find the deal online and then go to the venue, possibly for the first time. Getting new customers in the door is useful for the bar or restaurant owner, who may then sell non-discounted food and drink if people decide to stay.

By concentrating exclusively on alcoholic beverages deals, Miller hopes to maintain relationships with producers, who can bring discounts and promotional material to the restaurants and bars where the events are held. That, and a lighter charge for BevBucks' services than Groupon and other deal companies charge, should please local businesses, Miller says.

Beer, wine and liquor companies spend a lot of money on promotion in a market where there are now thousands of different choices for customers, Miller points out.

" can have 15 brews on tap—basically, you're spoiled for choice," he said.

Why would a liquor company want to combine a promotional event with an online discount? Well, for one thing, Miller says, the discount can get people to commit to buying the product.

Restaurants and bars, Miller said, "ultimately want people to come in the door. The whole point is: Why would you discount anything once they're there?"

For restaurants, particularly at the higher end, BevBucks.com is more likely to have a wine tasting combined with food, he said.

From liquid assets to ... liquid assets

Miller grew up in Darien, attending Ox Ridge School and graduating from Darien High School in 1993. He had a career in banking, working for Bankers Trust and later UBS, which brought him back to Fairfield County (he moved back to Darien more than two years ago), but then was let go from his sales trader job at UBS.

Thinking about what he'd do next, he decided to start his own company. He looked into the daily deal craze and thought he might find a niche with deals for alcoholic beverages.

"I've always enjoyed beer; I've always enjoyed wine, and I'm a bourbon and scotch guy," he said, so he was already somewhat familiar with the industry as a customer. (He even shares his name with a brand of beer.) Miller also knew that with the proliferation of brands in recent decades that companies were spending large amounts of money on marketing them.

So far, Miller has a website open for business, four employees and contractors, some local bars and restaurants using his services and some interest from the producers.

Farther in the future

After New York City and now Fairfield County, the business may expand further in the New York metropolitan area, Miller said. Every state's liquor regulations are different, and some will be harder to do business in than others, he said.

If the company expands far afield, it would be in "Texas and California for certain," he said. "They've got very liberal liquor laws."

He's open to working with partners as well, Miller said.

If we can truly show the alcoholic beverage companies that this makes sense," he said, "we could license it out to them."

Tom Jenkins September 10, 2012 at 01:49 PM
Seems to me that this kind of thing violates state liquor laws. Why is this guy being allowed to get away with this?
Myrna Belch September 10, 2012 at 02:42 PM
This is not retail sales at "package" stores and markets. They are locked to a ninimum and usually for a month at a time. You have also heard of "ladies' night" and other specials at bars. They have more flexibility when it is one drink at a time.
Dan Miller September 10, 2012 at 02:57 PM
Hi Tom, we have legal should opinions for CT as well as other states that define what parameters we can work with. We're "not getting away with" anything. Happy to discuss in detail and answer any questions for you. Please email me at dmiller@bevbucks.com. Thanks for the question.
Elizabeth Ann September 10, 2012 at 04:56 PM
I think this is a great idea! My friends and I love using Groupon and LivingSocial but one of the main drawbacks is that it doesn't cover alcohol. Generally 25%+ of our bill at a nice restaurant is the wine...so why not get a discount? I'm excited for BevBucks to take off! Looking forward to seeing more deals.
Deb September 10, 2012 at 06:36 PM
Thanks Elizabeth! Sign up on bevbucks.com to hear about new deals! Hope to see you at Bar Q Wednesday evening! You can get the deal on bevbucks.com!
Jim Bennett September 11, 2012 at 07:15 PM
BevBucks is a great idea! The biggest thing that draws people to any bar and grill is the drink specials. If bars can advertise drink specials, why not offer an extra something on top to draw in that extra bit of customers? Jim www.homegrownpromos.com

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