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The BYO Bar – How much alcohol do I buy?

Updated: Jun 18, 2020

Being a byo caravan bar our clients are the ones to purchase the alcohol (usually from Dan Murphys or one of our suppliers), it can be scary. How do you even know how much to buy? There are online calculators but according to those things everyone will have four drinks for the night… Um, who and where?

Mobile bar hire Central Coast NSW
Photo by Keegan Cronin

While we have a rough idea how much you should buy there are some weddings that blow your theory out of the water, like Amy & Mitch's wedding at Paterson Hall. This is my go to example when it comes to talking quantities. The week before Amy & Mitch’s wedding we had another wedding, same number of guests, same amount of hours, and the clients bought two kegs. At the end of the night we had a tiny bit left in one of the kegs, happy days. When Amy & Mitch told me they’d ordered 6 kegs I told them they were crazy and they wouldn’t need that much. Fast forward to 9pm and I’m driving around Maitland picking kegs up from pubs because their guests had sunk 6 kegs in 4 hours and weren’t looking like they were about to slow down. That wedding broke the record for the biggest drinkers. I stopped Amy halfway through the night and asked her who the f*ck she invited to this wedding! No word of a lie.

So with that being said I like to reassure my clients that it’s really not that scary and while we only provide a rough estimate of how much to buy I can also guarantee you won’t run out of drinks on the night. The main part is beer, it’s fine to go through your Sav Blanc or Moscato and let your guests switch to a Verdelho or bubbly, they won’t mind. But beer, you cannot run out of beer!

Beer is always the most popular, when packing glassware for a wedding I account for the fact that 70% of the guests will drink beer. So how do we guarantee you won’t run out? There are a number of factors that we add into our pricing and one is that we have a runner on hand to look after rubbish bins, collecting glassware, restocking the fridges and top up your alcohol if you haven’t bought enough. We make note of the nearest bottle shop and the closing time and the runner is responsible for keeping an eye on stock levels and topping that up if it looks like you’re going to run out. So I always tell my clients, go a little less than you think. It’s better to have us top up halfway through the night than to over estimate and you get stuck with hundreds in leftover alcohol the next day, plus you have to transport and store that alcohol after the wedding, no one wants wasted money after a wedding!

The downside to BYO is the guestimate. The upside is you’re not having to pay a huge markup on alcohol by going through a third party, plus you know exactly how much was spent, how much was drunk and how much you have leftover. A beverage package alone can cost up to $5000, but in reality your guests will drink $2500 worth. The alcohol for our wedding came to just under $2000 for 120 guests for 7 hours which is amazing. We returned what wasn’t used and didn’t waste a cent.

This is how much we bought;

2 kegs of James Squire 150 Lashes

2 kegs of Great Northern - One was untapped so we were able to return it

$700 worth of white wine and champagne - We had 3 cases of Sav Blanc leftover

6 bottles of red - legit, even red drinkers will only have a glass or two at a wedding)

A few bottles of assorted spirits for cocktails for the bridal party

A few cases of assorted soft drinks

20L of water

We kept it simple and had enough of each item. We had some guests who brought their own spirits to keep behind the bar but most people were happy with whatever we had on offer, it’s free dammit!

I hope this info helps, but remember if you have us booked for your wedding we will 100% not let you run out on the night so don’t let the anxiety set in and just ask how much we think you’ll need!

Easy done!

Mobile bar hire Central Coast
Photo by Keegan Cronin



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