Food and Cakes

Stocking the bar properly

Hi everyone!  We are providing our own alcohol for our reception, so I'm going to start to make a list of what alcohol to get and how much of everything to buy, so I need some help!  We plan on having kegs, mixed drinks & wine.  We're inviting 175 people, but expecting around 150 to attend.  Our friends are pretty hefty drinkers, and the worst thing that could happen would be for us to run out of alcohol.  Can you help me with figuring this out?

BEER: We would like to have two different types of beer, a lager & a light option.... how many kegs of each should I get?  If I had to guess, beer will be the most popular drink of choice.

LIQUOR: What different types of liquor are standard at a wedding bar?  I don't want to have every single different type of liquor, just the standard choices but I don't know what that typically is!?  And how much of each should we buy?

MIXERS: I'd imagine I should have orange juice, cranberry juice, regular soda, diet soda & a clear soda like sprite.  What else?   Ginger ale?  Pineapple juice?  And how much to buy (also need to keep in mind that the non drinkers will be drinking these by itself too)?

WINE: I assume I should have one white option, one red option and one blush option... Is that typical?  How much of each should I buy?

CUPS: We are providing our own plastic cups, also.  We're going to provide 12oz beer and soda cups, 10oz rocks cups & wine glasses.   Again, not sure how many of each to buy?

Thanks for your help in advance!!!  :) :) :) :) :)

Re: Stocking the bar properly

  • edited December 2011
    Beer - I'd probably do at least 3 options, really, if your crowd is beer people. One light, like a Bud Light/Miller/Coors, one IPA, and one darker/malty beer.

    One keg holds 88 pints, so you'll have to figure out if you're serving pints or 12 ounce cups of beer. How long is your reception? If it's a 4 hour reception, people will drink 1 drink per hour, plus 1 more drink within that 4 hours, so 5 drinks total. I'd honestly get at least 4 kegs, and probably at least 5. You can also get a half keg/pony keg. Maybe do 1 full and 1 half for all options, or 2 full for the light beer and a full and a half for the others.

    Wine - 3 types are fine, though most "wine people" won't drink a white zin/blush, unless it's REALLY good. Most white zins are not good. So you should probably get mroe red, and even more white, than blush. Boxed wines are fine, or you can buy magnums, which should be cheaper over all.

    As for liquor, I might stick to a few signature drinks to save your sanity. For sure, if you have a "full" bar, I'd get vodka, gin, a good whiskey/scotch or bourbon, and tequila. For mixers, you'll need juices (pineapple, orange, cranberry), sour mix, tonic water/seltzer, and soda - I'd do cola, diet cola, sprite, gingerale, and bottled water, for those who aren't drinking or want water.

    Shop at a place like Costco that will let you return unopened, unchilled liquor. Or just buy things you like so you can drink the leftovers!

    Will you have a bartender? A bartender will measure out drinks to make sure you're actualyl serving 4 oz of wine per serving, 1.5 oz of liquor per serving, etc.
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  • edited December 2011
    In Response to Stocking the bar properly:
    LIQUOR: What different types of liquor are standard at a wedding bar?  I don't want to have every single different type of liquor, just the standard choices but I don't know what that typically is!?  And how much of each should we buy? MIXERS: I'd imagine I should have orange juice, cranberry juice, regular soda, diet soda & a clear soda like sprite.  What else?   Ginger ale?  Pineapple juice?  And how much to buy (also need to keep in mind that the non drinkers will be drinking these by itself too)?
    Posted by daisy28426
    I only drink liquor so can't help on the rest, but for liquor, if you plan to just have a few options, you'll want about two to three times more vodka than the others.  I have a Halloween party each year for about 150 and that's the rate the vodka disappears compared to the rest.

    I'd probably keep it simple, get a few bottles of a decent vodka, Smirnoff is good, or Ketel One is better but not as expensive as the 'popular' premium brands (Grey Goose, etc).  Get some rum, probably the white label Bacardi is fine, not dark rum unless you want to offer that since more people will drink the silver. 

    You'll probably find that with the right mixers, just vodka and rum will satisfy most guests who prefer liquor, but if you want to widen the variety a bit, probably add whiskey, gin and tequila, but get the small bottles (750 ml) since those will be used a lot slower.

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  • edited December 2011

    In my experience this link has provided pretty good estimates as far as servings go

    http://www.evite.com/pages/party/drink-calculator.jsp

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  • edited December 2011
    I agree with the PP about the wine - Just a white and a red should be fine.
  • kimberlyb122kimberlyb122
    10 Comments
    member
    edited December 2011
    I definitely agree that your best bet is to keep it simple since you're doing it yourself! I love the idea of signature cocktails. You can make them up to match your colors/ theme!!! Ive come across some really great ones on here and in magazines. And as for the wine, you can certainly just do a white and a red, no need for a blush
  • edited December 2011
    In Response to Re: Stocking the bar properly:
    In my experience this link has provided pretty good estimates as far as servings go http://www.evite.com/pages/party/drink-calculator.jsp
    Posted by rknox88

    That's the one I recommend all the time!
  • awick14awick14
    100 Comments
    member
    edited December 2011
    Check your local alcohol license requirements for this. They may have a limit on how much you can have per guest. (Im not sure if it is the same in the states as it is here in Canada)


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  • RebeccaB88RebeccaB88 Figment of Your Imagination
    2500 Comments Fifth Anniversary 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    member
    edited December 2011
    What about a sparkling wine/champagne option rather than blush wine? 

    I went to a wedding that had a margarita machine.  Was a TOTAL hit and really easy for the bartenders - they dumped everything in and the machine did the work. 

    If you're hiring bartenders, they may have a list of things they require you to provide, or suggestions for amounts and types.  You also have to think about garnishes - cherries, lemons and limes, olives for martinis, grenadine, stirrers, etc. 
  • HeatherBobHeatherBob
    Seventh Anniversary 10 Comments
    member
    edited December 2011
    We did this at our wedding. Our venue gave us the option to supply our own alcohol. We took home the opened bottles and got money back from the un-opened ones. We chose two beers that are very popular with us and our guests (Miller Lite & Yuengling) as kegs and then got two other beers (Coors Light & Heinekin) as cases. We then got white, red and a blush wine along with the basics vodka, gin, spiced run, whiskey, kahlua and a few specialty liquors. It actually worked out for us. Our venue, however, was able to come up with an amount of each liquor for us to purchase per our 120 guest count. We didn't run out though!
  • allisonkbyeallisonkbye
    100 Comments 5 Love Its
    member
    edited December 2011
    your scenario exactly describes ours. this is what we are doing

    4 kegs (2 of each): busch and busch light

    we have a lot of friends who love bud light and drink busch light more often now bc of price, and the rest just love beer so can't go wrong with busch light. then busch for those who are offended if they have to drink light ha

    7 each: vodka, bacardi rum, captain, peach schnaps, and some sort of whiskey.

    will probably have 2-3 bottles of arbor mist as wine. then will get 10 gallons of orange juice, then a LOT of pop. assuming you have to provide this urself too, we are getting 50 - 2 liters, 10 of which r sprite , a few ginger ales.

    i used to be a bartender and this is what common people around where i live (indiana) drink at weddings, and make sure u have captain, at least one handle, cause some people just don't like anything else haha. 

    our signature drink is going to be margaritas too, will probably pre-mix it for the bartender and just have that in addition to what's already mentioned. nothing sucks more than running out!
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