Beverage Consumption – How Much?

Beverage Consumption – Wondering how much alcohol to get for your guests?

This is one of the hardest aspects to work out for any event and you are basically taking an educated guess, there are no exact formulas but below we have detailed a few formulas and aspects to consider to help with your planning.

Will you restrict beverage to non alcoholic drinks, beer and wine ONLY and have guests purchase their own spirits? OR Will it be an open bar with non alcoholic drinks, beer, wine and spirits available throughout the evening?

Dependent on your venue and/or caterer you could have the following options or a combination of these options:

  • CORKAGE
    You may be able to pre-purchase your beverage and pay the caterer a corkage fee, meaning you serve your guests your per purchased beverage. see our article on Corkage….more>>
  • BEVERAGE PACKAGE
    Your venue or caterer may offer you a beverage selection for a set price usually per person for a pre determined amount of time. This has advantages and disadvantages. see our article on Beverage Packages….more>>
  • BEVERAGE CHARGED ON CONSUMPTION
    This is the most common style of service where an open tab is run with all beverage charged to your account. see our article on Beverage charged on Consumption….more>>
  • CASH BAR
    Guests pay for their own drinks

Here are some guidelines to help ensure you have enough for your event and whichever beverage option you choose is all dependant on your budget. (Remember these are only estimates based on years of experience, but there are many factors that will affect these calculations, formulas are based on an average 50/50 male female audience)

Factors to consider

  • Be realistic, it is common that people think their guests are BIG drinkers! and then get stuck with left over beverage and unnecessary expense. Corporate or Company functions tend to drink more than Weddings. (believe it or not)
  • What is the mix of your group, ie 50/50 Male and Female, Young, Older (or should we say more mature)
  • Type of people, ie are they truck drivers, forestry workers, shop assistants, religions, etc
  • Transport; is a bus supplied, availability of taxis, are most people driving, do guests have accommodation on the premises,etc
  • You only need to allow for a maximum of about 5 hours even if your event runs longer.

Pre dinner drinks on arrival – pre drinks for 1 hour – 1.5 glasses per person – 5 glasses in a bottle
(number of guests x 1.5) ÷ 5 = number of bottles you require

Take the number of guests, times by 1.5 for the approximate number of glasses they will probably drink in one hour
Divide that figure by five glasses in a bottle, this gives you the approximate number of bottles you will need for drinks on arrival/pre drinks.

 

Wine for the evening – Budget on 2 glasses per person in the first hour and 1 glass every hour after. (maximum of about 5 hours)
(1+(number of hours)) x number of guests = number of glasses ÷ 5 = number of bottles needed

Take the number of hours the function will run for, then add 1
Times this figure by the number of guests
Divide it by five glasses in a bottle and this gives you the approximate number of bottles of wine you will need for the evening.

This is where it gets tricky…you will need to have an idea as to what your guests drink, traditionally it would be 2/3 White wine drinkers and 1/3 Red wine drinkers, although Red wine is now becoming a more popular choice and it pays to try and read your guests if you can. We suggest you offer three different wines – two white wines and one red the most common selection is Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc and Cabernet Sauvignon.

 

Bubbles for toasts – 1 glass per person – 5 glasses in a bottle
number of guests ÷ 5 = number of bottles you require

Take the number of guests
Divide that figure by five glasses in a bottle, this gives you the approximate number of bottles of bubbles you will need for toasting

 

Beer for the evening – Budget on 1 beer per person per hour (maximum of about 5 hours)
(1+(number of hours)) x number of guests = number of glasses (stubbies or cans)

Take the number of hours the function will run for, then add 1
Times this figure by the number of guests

Again this is tricky…you will need to have an idea as to what your guests drink. Try and stick to only 4 types or brands of beer and always include a low alcohlic option within the 4. The more options you have the more chance you have of either running out of a certain brand or you will need to purchase more that will end up being left over.

 

Consider what you could drink in a night. Could you drink a bottle to a bottle and a half of wine by yourself in a night. Most people would say ‘Yes no problem’ but in fact most would struggle. Remember “BE REALISTIC” and a word of advice from many brides – you hardly get to touch a drop of wine yourself all night! You are far too busy they tell us.

Other food and beverage tips:
Corkage – What is it? Click Here
Beverage Packages – Click Here
Beverage charged on consumption – Click Here