How many bottles of Tequila will I need? And then, there's beer and wine, our signature drinks, Whiskey, mixers, soda, ... Aaaaahh!
Yes, it can be overwhelming to decide whether you will need 4 cases or 10 cases of wine. A decision that might cost you an easy $500 because the amounts will vary whether you throw a pool party with some buddies, you get married with 200 witnesses, or if you are Google throwing an office party (still waiting for that invite).
This is why we decided to write this easy guide to follow when calculating how much your guests will need.
Again, if any of this gets too complicated or you are just too lazy to do it yourself (which is totally fine, we don't judge), just let us know and we'll get your shopping list ready in no-time.
Brace yourselves, this will be a long post!
1. General Idea / Open Bar
Before we proceed, a word of warning:
MOST IMPORTANTLY, YOU WILL HAVE TO KNOW YOUR CROWD
We can calculate all day, but if you know that only 2 people on your party like Vodka-Soda and that the rest consists of exclusive wine drinkers, adjust for that.
(Here again, if you let us know, we'll help you adjust your list)
Calculation & Explanation (Disclaimer: Includes Math!)
On average, guests will drink 1 drink per hour, given that the event is at least 4 hours.
(For shorter events, we have an additional factor mentioned on the bottom of the post*)
We came to a conclusion that overall guests will split up:
- 30% beer
- 35% wine
- 35% cocktails
(Further abbreviations will be B, W, C)
Example: 100 people, 6 hours, Full Bar
Total: 600 drinks served
Beer: 600 x 0.3 = 180
Wine: 600 x 0.35 = 210
Cocktails (a.k.a. booze): 600 x 0.35 = 210
Believe it or not, having an open bar is the easiest calculation to do as you are pretty much done with the Math now. All you are doing now is deciding brands.
One bottle of booze will approximately hold 35 servings and we're talking about the 1.75L bottles. These big ones are good to save some money. Buying in bulk is always cheaper!
For an open bar, you want to have Vodka, Gin, and Whiskey, for sure. Optionally you can opt for Tequila and Rum.
You need 210 servings of wine? Divide that by 4 and you got the amount of bottles you need (52).
But hold it right there! Don't forget to get some white and red wine.
Usually, you can split it right in the middle (50% red, 50% white), although depending on the circumstances and your crowd, this will change.
For example, in August, people will rather grab a cold glass of bubbly or white wine, whereas with certain foods or in the colder months, people rely on red wine.
If you are having a toast, make sure everyone (over 21) gets 1 serving of Champagne. With serving sizes smaller than wine, you can go with 6 servings per 750ml bottle.
Beer's easy. 1 bottle = 1 serving.
Try to have one darker (or stronger) and one lighter option for your peeps.
If you would like to go out and buy a keg, please do! People LOVE kegs, especially because it's so rarely seen and so tasty.
In 12oz cups (it's those red SOLO cups), one keg will serve 165 servings. We recommend getting 9oz cups if you go for that option as it will keep the beer in the cup fresher (= 220 servings).
Keg sizes can also vary: a regular keg holds 15 1/2 gallons, whereas a pony keg will only hold 7.5 gallons.
Servings x cup size (e.g. 9oz or 12oz) EXAMPLE: 180 x 9oz
------------------------------- ------------- = 0.81 (= 1 full size keg)
Keg size (oz) 1984oz (full size)
Mixers & Garnishes
Most typically: Lemons & Limes Juices (cranberry & orange)
Soda (at least Coke/Diet Coke)
2. Beer & Wine ONLY
You might be inclined to do beer and wine only, either because of personal preference, because you don't want people to get wasted within minutes (again, know your crowd!), or simply because your venue says you can't have any hard liquor.
The same rules as above apply, only the calculation is a little different.
From our experience, the numbers are received as follows:
Total Servings x 0.37 = Servings of Beer
(Example: 600 x 0.37 = 222 servings)
Total Servings x 0.63 = Servings of Wine
(Example: 600 x 0.63 = 378)
Divide by 4 for bottles: 94 bottles)
3. Signature Drinks
If you are planning on doing some seriously advanced signature drinks (not just Gin-Tonic, but a Blue Cadillac Margaritas as an example) please just ask us. We have a complicated, but efficient and accurate calculation system to give you the exact amounts you will need for your event calculated to the smallest detail. We should really patent that thing...
4. Other Factors
Time of the event will be a crucial factor for the amount of alcohol people can digest. If the bar is only open for an hour, you start chugging, whereas if you have 7 hours, you will at least try not to be blackout drunk after 3 hours.
Since you already know how to calculate the average, simply multiply the total with the factor below and you should be good to go:
2 hours or less (a.k.a. the quicky): 2
2-3 hours: 1.5
4+ hours: 1
If our example event above would be just 2.5 hours:
600 servings x 1.5 = 900
It might seem a little counter-intuitive, but in the beginning, people always drink a little faster than they probably should.
Budget plays a big roll when planning any type of get-together. Lots of alcohol can be expensive, so make sure to buy in bulk!
A BYOB party is also a great alternative, where you can provide the mixers and your guests bring the booze. Always fun to see what everyone turns up with.
That's all we got for now. If you have any more tips & tricks, don't forget to comment below!
Now, get yourself a drink. You deserve it!