When is the last time you gave your bar or home bar a good cleaning?

With the new year upon us, there is no better time than now to rearrange, dust, and throw out any expired bottles that might be laying around. Alcohol does expire. It’s important to know and understand how long each self-life is for products. You never want to be in a situation where your bar or restaurant is serving old or bad liquor, beer, or wine.

Wine Bottles in a Bar

Wine Bottles in a Bar

We all know that wine get’s better as it ages but is it true for other types of spirits? There are a few different reasons why things can go bad and most involve fermentation. Other things that can affect self-life include temperature fluctuations, light exposure, and oxidation of the liquid.


Liquors such as brandy, scotch, vodka, rum, tequila, whiskey, etc. are usually considered self-stable. This is because they don’t contain sugar and are made with plants and grains. An unopened bottle can last for a very long time. Once these bottles have been opened, they can last anywhere from six to eight months. Note that when the bottles have been opened, after a while they can lose flavor qualities.

Try to ensure that liquor is being stored properly. A dark and cool place is ideal. Proper storage helps to prevent evaporation and oxidation, which will extend their shelf-life.


Unopened and sealed beer can last six to eight months past the expiration date. This can even be longer depending on if it’s been refrigerated or not. Craft beers are typically un-pasteurized whereas mass-produced beer is.

Pasteurized beer can still taste fresh one year after it’s been bottled. Unpasteurized beer is better if consumed in three months. Pasteurization is done to kill off any harmful pathogens to extend the shelf-life.

Craft beer thrives thanks to cans by sigmund-

Craft beer thrives thanks to cans

Non-Alcoholic Mixers

Most, if not all, non-alcoholic mixers should be refrigerated after opening. These can include ginger beer, Margarita mix, Daiquiri mix, or Bloody Mary mix. Follow the expiration dates that come on the package. For homemade mixers that include fresh fruits and juices, store in airtight containers in the fridge for no more than three to four days. 


Wine has always been known to get better with age but this mostly applies to fine wines. Bottles that are on the cheaper end of the spectrum can last up to two years once bottled. Fortified wines like vermouth can last for around two months and organic wines that contain sulfites should be consumed within three to six months.

When it comes to sparkling wines, they have a shorter shelf-life because of the carbonation. Similar to soda, they want to be used within a few hours of opening for ultimate bubbles. If needed, add an airtight stopper and store it in the refrigerator for one to three days.