By Mike Pomranz
Updated May 11, 2016
Credit: © Dc Johnson / EyeEm / Getty Images

At most bars, you have your top shelf liquor and your bottom shelf liquor and those shelves are solidly held in place so valuable bottles don’t go crashing to the floor. But at The Blind Burro in San Diego, though the shelves don’t literally move, the pricing of tequila shots are constantly in flux based on who’s drinking what. It’s a small but potentially emerging trend in the bar biz: dynamic pricing.

“In the old days, dynamic pricing was thought of as a pricing technique used in fixed capacity industries such as airlines,” Rafi Mohammed, a pricing strategist, told the Associated Press who recently looked into the phenomenon. “But the new thinking is dynamic pricing can be used in any industry where demand or supply fluctuates.” That can even apply to drink prices.

The Blind Burro gets their computer software from The Drink Exchange, a Los Angeles-based company that says they work with over 20 bars and restaurants, so though their tequila pricing system is unique, it’s certainly not the only one of its kind. At the Burro, TV screens display the prices for over two dozen tequila brands, with prices shifting every five minutes or so. If there’s a run on one particular brand, the price will shoot up; meanwhile, the price of a brand that has been in less demand recently will drop.

Dynamic pricing can benefit business in a lot of ways, helping them command a premium for what people want while also moving products that otherwise might not sell. Though it’s not as practical in the bar world as it is in some other industries, it’s still a novel change there. The Blind Burro told the AP they sell more of the tequilas listed on their screens than the ones that are not.

Plus, it’s a good way to keep patrons hanging out at the bar. If you keep your fingers crossed long enough, maybe that shot of añejo will drop down to a penny. Unlikely, but maybe.