Guide to Beverage Catering & Alcohol Quantities


A Guide to Beverage Catering

Whether you are hosting an event at home, your office or favourite venue – knowing the right amount of beverage quantities to order for your thirsty guests can be confusing. As experienced beverage caterers, we understand the many variables to take into consideration when placing your alcohol order for drinks catering.

One thing to consider is the mix of female versus male guests attending your event. Female guests will generally drink less than their male counterparts and (very generally speaking), will prefer a sparkling or a white wine over a beer. Beer is generally more popular with male guests and both men and women will tend to drink a little more on a very hot day.

More often than not, we work with wedding or event planners that like us to provide beverage catering packages to be served by our professional wait staff. In some cases, where wedding or event planners have a special type of beverage that they would like served or if a business has been lucky to have beverages sponsored for their event, our clients request to order their own beverages.

Types of Beverages

We would generally recommend as part of your drinks catering one selection of white wine, one selection of red wine and one sparkling wine or champagne. One heavy beer and one choice of light beer is most common and one choice of cider is a popular beverage choice at events. Always factor in a variety of soft drinks into your beverage catering such as mineral water and orange juice.

A sauvignon blanc is the most popular white wine varietal (although Chardonnay has made a huge come back in Melbourne recently). A shiraz is a wonderful, hearty choice for events in the cooler months while a pinor noir is a lighter option for spring and summer. Sparkling wine is essential at any special occasion with some event planners choosing to splurge on Champagne and others opting for the increasingly popular Prosecco. Some wedding and event planners do prefer to include 2 varieties of red wine and 2 of white wine, however this is not essential and just depends on your personal preference.

Suggested Beverage Catering Quantities

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The team of party pros at Essential Catering and Events have created the following beverage quantity guide based on a 5-hour event for 100 guests. As an average you should allow 6 drinks per person over the 5 hours, some will drink 8 and others will drink only 3 or 4. There are some factors that can substantially affect these recommendations, such as all guests being bussed in and out of the event!

  • Red Wine – 2 dozen bottles
  • White Wine – 2 to 3 dozen bottles
  • Sparkling Wine – 2 dozen bottles (please note – if you are providing a good quality sparkling, you should order 3 dozen bottles and reduce your white wine order to 2 dozen, as the girls will always stick with a high end sparkling)
  • Beer and Cider – 14 cartons stubbies and 2 cartons of cider
  • Light Beer – 1 carton of stubbies
  • Soft Drinks – 6 x 1.25litre bottles Coca Cola, 6 x bottles Diet Coke, 6 x bottles lemon mineral water, 6 x bottles mineral water and a couple of large bottles OJ.

Ice is an essential part of your beverage catering order as this is how your drinks will be chilled. We would recommend 20 bags of ice if there is not a decent size fridge available. Remember you will use up 8 to 10 bags just chilling down the beverages before the event starts. If you are hosting your event in summer – we would recommend ordering a little more.

Responsible Service of Alcohol

Our beverage quantities checklist will ensure that there are enough beverages for your guests. There is no need to go over board with additional beverages and the responsible service of alcohol should always be a consideration. As part of our special catering liquor license, Essential Catering and Events staff are trained to monitor the responsible service of alcohol and as an event planner, you should also understand the key points.
For stress less event planning at its finest, if you are looking for drinks catering, beverage catering or cocktail catering contact the team of party pros at Essential Catering and Events today, we’d be happy to help! You can check out our beverage catering menus here.