They say that necessity is the mother of invention and in our case that was so true. It was necessary for us (the half dozen or so) teenagers to own a boat. It is pretty hard, impossible really to water ski without one. You also needed all the gear. And a car to tow the boat to the lake is pretty handy also.
How could we come up with the money for all this? Get jobs? Get real! Jobs would just cut into our water skiing/beer drinking/party time. We needed to come up with a much better solution then that.
Our solution, which was totally brilliant, BTW, was to hold a kegger. You've all heard "it takes money to make money". As true now as it was then. It also takes some serious project management to pull off a profitable kegger.
A venue: Our venue was Dave's house. Technically, Dave's dad's house. Specifically, Dave's dad's house when Dave's dad was not at home. This was not as big of a problem as you would think. Dave's dad was gone quite a lot. Dave's dad had businesses around the Pacific Northwest that needed his attention. This left his house and kids up for grabs.
Dave's house was chosen for it's location. As the real estate people say; location, location. location! Dave's house was in the perfect location. It was on fraternity row for the University of Puget Sound in Tacoma, Washington. In fact, the nearest frat house was 3 houses down. Oh yeah, this was the money district. Those private christian college frat boys would shell out for a drunk like no one else I've ever seen.
A product: Easy enough. Beer. That's it. That's all we offered. Whoops, that's not totally true. Beer and a red plastic cup. We had one simple rule; lose your cup and you had to buy another one. That would cost you a dollar.
Though none of us was 21 (the drinking age in Washington State in 1975) we knew of all the bars that would sell us kegs of beer. There were 3 in Tacoma that had, shall we say, a liberal interpretation of the drinking age.
With any keg you had to have taps. Since, we were frequent purchasers of kegs, a couple of kegs a month, we owned our own taps. Sometimes, it's best to make a capital investment. Taps were a great investment.
Pricing strategy: Charge $1 for every cup. Lose your cup; pay another buck. This was an all you can drink affair. FYI, frat boys lose a lot of cups.
Planning and sticking to your timeline: We started our planning for the keggers season early. It was not unusual for us to have kegger planning meetings around Christmas. All keggers needed to be during the semester. Preferably, the week after midterms, a couple of weeks before finals and the week before move out. The plan had to be fluid enough to adapt to problems such as Dave's dad not being out of town on the proposed date and our own school class schedules.
Ultimate money maker: This was a two prong approach.
1. cup clean up management. We would periodically sweep the house for unattended cups. If you leave your cup to take a piss you would have to buy another one. You drink that much beer you were bound to break the seal. When you came back your cup was gone. Paying that dollar for a new one was the definition of a pisser.
2. crowd control. Though we never denied anyone the opportunity to squeeze into the house we did develop a plan to control the flow. This was a simple and dare I say genius plan. At midnight we called the police. That's right. We called in a complaint to the local police department in order to have the party raided. Nothing clears out a bunch of drunk frat boys and slutty sorority sisters faster than police sirens. After, the party goers left we would refresh the keg and pull out cups of a different color, usually blue. An hour later we would start the kegger up again. This entailed charging everyone another dollar to get another cup.
This plan work excellently. After two or three keggers we were able to purchase our ski boat and motor and a 1967 Chevelle. Both items needed work but the men in our group were more than up for this. They worked on the Red Dog (the Chevelle) for over a month. It didn't look pretty but it could smoke anything off the line. The boat motor took another month.
Dave's dad also owned a bare piece of property on Lake Tapps (the lake nearest my house). We would spend all summer camping out at the lake; skiing, drinking, and well.....having a really good time. And whenever we needed more money we held another kegger or two.
Did I mention that Dave's dad was awesome! Someday I'll tell the story about Dave's dad selling one of his hotels to a madam. She ran a pretty skanky whorehouse out of it until he had to foreclose. The guys in our group wanted to take the mortgage payment out in trade. Teenage boys are such asses.