With spring and summer comes warmer weather, and with warmer weather comes celebrations! You may find that you’re entering one of your busier seasons for party and event planning, whether it’s retirement, graduation, or anniversary parties, or even a wedding celebration.
Experience tells you that while food is the number one priority for most parties, alcoholic beverages are a very close second. But, the amount of alcohol needed for a party can be tricky to calculate. It’s hard to compare one event attended by light drinkers to another fête attended by a group with a higher tolerance. So finding a one-size-fits-all answer isn’t always easy.
Your clients, however, will turn to you for advice on how much alcohol to order for their party. To help, we’ve created this simple beverage calculator for event planners to share with their clients to help them determine the right amount of alcoholic drinks to have on hand.
Step 1: How Many Servings?
It’s expected, in a group of moderate drinkers, that each guest will drink one serving of alcohol each hour. While they may drink more during cocktail hour, they may slow down during the meal, so use one drink per hour as an average.
# of guests x # of hours = # of servings
50 guests x 4 hours = 200 servings
Step #2: What Types of Alcohol?
The next step in your beverage calculator equation is determining what kinds of alcoholic beverages will be served, whether it’s a full bar (including beer, wine, and liquor) or beer and wine only.
Talk to your client about which types of alcohol their guests prefer. Your client will know if their friends and family tend to be wine enthusiasts or craft beer lovers, so start with their input. If their guests don’t have a strong preference, you can use this breakdown:
full bar: 50% wine / 30% liquor / 20% beer
beer & wine only: 75% wine / 25% beer
Let’s go back to the example of 200 servings. Breaking out the different types of alcohol would look like this:
100 servings of wine
60 servings of liquor
40 servings of beer
Step #3: What Is A Serving?
Now that you know how many servings of alcohol to recommend, you must translate that into the number of bottles of beer, wine, and liquor needed.
1 bottle of wine = 5 servings
for 100 servings, you’ll need 20 bottles of wine
1 bottle of liquor = 18 servings
for 60 servings, you’ll need 4 bottles of liquor
1 bottle of beer = 1 servings
for 40 servings, you’ll need 40 bottles of beer
Don’t Forget the Napkins!
You can follow a similar formula to the one used in our beverage calculator to determine the number of cocktail napkins to have available throughout the event. As a rule of thumb, it’s recommended that you provide 3-5 napkins per guest, per hour, as guests will use a fresh napkin with each drink and for appetizers.
5 napkins x 50 guest x 4 hours = 1,000 napkins