When it comes to stocking a bar for upwards of 50 guests, whether for a wedding or a big party, it can be difficult to predict what and how much you might need.
A good place to start is this simple equation: Each guest will have one drink per hour. So, for example, if your bar is going to be open for five hours, and you have 100 guests, you should ensure the bar has at least 500 servings of alcohol. One bottle of wine comes out to about five servings; one bottle of champagne serves about eight guests; one bottle of liquor will pour about 18 shots (or 18 mixed drinks); and one bottle of beer counts as one serving.
Next you have to figure out what kind of alcohol you want to be serving, and what percentages of each you should have on hand. No one knows your guests better than you do, so ultimately it is up to your judgement. It is suggested that beer makes up 70% of your alcohol, wine is 25%, and 5% is liquor. However, if you think your entire family will be drinking wine all night, you may want to swap around those numbers. Same goes if your partner’s family are really into whiskey; you may want to up the amount of liquor you stock, especially the whiskey.
Another option to consider is offering a couple signature cocktails. This is not only a cute and memorable detail for your event, but it makes purchasing and serving very simple! It eliminates the need to fill the bar with every type of alcohol and enough variety of mixers. Just select a couple cocktails for the menu, and only stock the ingredients you’ll need for those cocktails. You can even keep them pre-made in a serving container (like a carafe, or dispenser) to make your bartender’s job a lot easier, too!
Glassware is also important to consider. If your bar is strictly beer, wine, and champagne, you can stick with the classics (Wine Glasses, Champagne Glasses, Pint Glasses, and Pilsner Glasses). Things get a little more complicated if you are stocking for an open bar. Then, depending on what drinks your guests will be able to order, you may need any or all of these types of glasses behind the bar: Shot Glass, Highball, Long Drink, Copper Mug, Martini, Old-Fashioned, Pina Colada, Margarita, Mason Jar, Mojito, Brandy Snifter, Port, Sherry.
With so many variables, it can seem daunting to try to properly stock a bar for your wedding or event. Caterers and bartenders may be able to offer some further advice for your event, but ultimately it’s just important to remember who your guests are and what they are going to love to see on the bar menu.
Products pictured: Market Buffet Table with Awning, Stemless Wine Glasses, Lighted Bar Sign, Beer Pilsner Glass, Old-Fashioned Glass, Carson Bar Back, Gold Candlesticks, Copper Mug, Norden Bar, Artificial Boxwood Hedge, Oxford Bar, Oxford Bar Back, Sprinkle Blush Tabledrape, Carson Bar, Gunmetal Barstools, Wood Planter Box – Square, Cobalt Rimmed Old Fashioned, Red Bubble Goblets, Double Old-Fashioned, Mercury Votives, Sonoma Wine Glasses, Hampton Bar, Glass Wine Carafe.