Clubs share views on impact of alcohol spending

Locals spend hundreds of tala on alcohol, but whether it leads to them living a life of poverty depends on how much they spend in a night.  

This is according to three club managers in Apia, who have their customers spending more than $200-$300 tala and in rare cases for one particular club up to $600 tala in their busy nights – Friday and Saturday – with the amount fluctuating between the two days. 

The Sunday Samoan spoke to Seana Bar owner Mailei Malo Eneliko Pau, Tenamo Bar manager Iosefo Namulauulu, and Club X manager Alofa Leota on the types of customers they get, the amount of money they spend, and how much alcohol they sell in one night. 

“How much money people spend in one night depends. If they come in a group, then only one person buys the drinks, the other ones they only drink and they would spend $400-$600 in one night. But if one person just buys drinks for himself, he will only spend $60,” Mailei said. 

“Our customers are from different classes and most of the customers are locals, and we get regular customers sometimes and it’s about 5 percent of our total customers.”

He said people who spend that amount of money are from low income families, but some are smart and they depend on those with the money to buy drinks. 

“That’s how it works, when you are broke, the only thing you can pay for is your cover charge and you can find your families in there to buy you drinks.” 

“Low income people they only come in to drink two bottles and waiting for somebody to buy them drinks. These people are smart, they don’t spend a lot, but people who work in good places, they come here with their friends and like that and they spend money.” 

“The type of spending they do, when you are happy you make sure you spend something to remember that time, when you’re angry you want to drink just to forget about something, so their spending really depends on them if it brings them poverty.” 

Seana Bar receives about 800 people, and the number would most likely increase with their newly renovated bar and VIP lounge.

“We find out the number of people through our cover charge, which is $10, that that is the number of people we normally we get,” Malie said.  

“We get about $6,000 tala on the two busy nights, and it changes between Friday and Saturday. We can accommodate that number of people because of the space inside our clubs, we just finished extending the bar and the inside, and we are still expanding the club. Right now it’s a bit slow because school has just started and people are paying off their loans.” 

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Malie explained they serve about eight crates of 24 bottles of taula, and 12 crates of Vailima because it is exclusive to the club.  

“This year I signed the contract with Taula and Budweiser. Budweiser is kind of slow because it’s new, maybe one crate a night. We never run out of alcohol because we have our stock at the back, and we buy our alcohol every week. In a week, I only buy 30 cases and Vailima 60-80 cases, and pay week I get 24 cases.” 

Iosefo said one person would spend more than $200-$300 tala on alcoholic beverages inside Tenamo Bar.  

“Here we mostly deal with business customers and the average people,” he said. 

“On our busiest Fridays we have up to 300 people come in, but not every Friday. Our cover fee is $10 for Thursday – Friday and this is how we know the number of people we get.” 

Iosefo added they sell their small bottles of Taula and Vailima for $6 tala. 

“On Fridays we sell at least 20-30 cases when it is busy. On our slow days we have left over beers. But in total for our busy nights we sell at least 200 beers. It costs more than $70 for a case of small taula.

“It is only when Taula runs out of their cases that we resort to buy from other wholesales, but we purchase only from Taula, Vailma and Budweiser.” 

Club X is no different with the 230-250 high class customers they get on their busy days and with the same charge of $10 entrance fee and $5 for other days.

“People would spend $100-$200 in one night. Some people come in groups so they spend like $200-$300 a night. If it’s just one person they would spend $100 or more,” Alofa said. 

“During our busy nights, we sell about 100 taulas and 60-70 vailima bottles.  We sell both larger and pure about 130. 

“We order from the companies Taula and Vailima. We buy like five - 10 cases for one-two days of Taula and Vailima. People prefer Taula. We buy more Taula. 

“We sell cocktail jugs for $25 and we sell our bottles of Vailima and Taula for $6. We don’t sell big bottles only the small ones.”

Alofa said they do not use local vodka only imported vodka and it is sold for $10 a glass. 

“If we sell more than we have then we have to buy them. And if we are run out of stock we get the drinks from Famer Joe, which is more expensive. When we get the case from Taula it’s like $72.20 but from Farmer Joe it’s like $81. Vailima is cheaper it’s like $67 for one box.” 

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