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Setting up the perfect bar for an event: Part 5 of 5 - The Beer and Wine Choices

Beer and Wine need at an event bar

This is the final part 5 of 5 of the series explaining how to set up the perfect bar for an event. Here we get into the basics of what types of beer and wine to offer at your event bar. As we noted prior - the bar really dictates the tempo and enjoyment of the event and so having the proper selections always helps. With that in mind it is critical to have the drink orders simple, consistent, and moving fast. Links to the prior four articles can be found at the end of this blog.

As we noted in a prior article: Setting up the perfect bar for an event: Part 2 of 5 - Audit Your Event Prior, it is critical that you audit your event prior to making beer and wine purchase decisions. Every event has its own theme, and those themes needs to be taken into consideration. The below information is to help with a basic understanding of what to anticipate when setting up a perfect bar!

Offer 2 to 4 Types / Labels of Wine

Needless to say, there are hundreds of types and varieties of wine and for us to recommend specifics would be sacrilegious! But when hosting an event it is best to offer a variation of two to four types of wine. You can start with the basics Red Wine and White Wine for two simple suggestions, but then again you can further break it down into two types of red and two types of white wine, thus the 2 to 4 options.

When choosing a red wine our experience usually leans towards the following:

Shiraz / Syrah: This fruity varietal is very easy to drink. Even better, there are many high qualities and low-price wines, mostly from Australia that are very easy to find. The wines labeled Shiraz are usually made in the style that is better suited to drinking alone, without food.

Merlot / Cab: This varietal is very popular, and liked by most casual wine drinkers. Some self-styled wine snobs might not care for wines that feature this grape outside of Chateau Petrus, but it's easy to find a well-made bottle that will satiate most red wine drinkers.

Malbec: Fruit-driven, liked by most and readily affordable, these can be good choices for the event.

When choosing a white wine, remember these are the most popular or user-friendly at parties.

Sauvignon Blanc: This is often herbaceous and dry, but with enough fruit to be enjoyed without food. Also, there are many well-made versions that are value priced.

Chardonnay: This is most recognizable and most popular white wine grape. Even on the lower end of the price scale, which can be found everywhere, these wines are made in a fruity, slightly oaky style that are enjoyable to drink by itself, without a food accompaniment.

Pinot Grigio / Pinot Gris: This is a light-bodied, dry, and mellow white wine that most white wine drinkers find palatable when drinking as an aperitif.

It is important to note, that a vast majority of wines are meant to be drunk soon after opening. Only a few are meant for aging. These are typically on the higher end of the price scale, are full-bodied and, generally, have an alcoholic content that is at least 13%. Alcohol acts as a preservative. So, be careful at the bargain bin at your wine store when you find a very cheap wine from a good winery that is four or five years old. It is our experience that inexpensive red wines under 13% alcohol are generally only reliably good about two-and-a-half years after the vintage date. White wines, even less so.

Limit your beer choices to 4-5 types / brands of beer

Unlike wines, when it comes to beers making suggestions is much simpler and predictable based on the audit of your party. It is best to offer four to five types of beer at an event and the breakdowns and types are as follows:

Mexican Beers: Depending on where you live in the country demand for Mexican beer is ever increasing and is typically requested the most often. In fact, it is best to offer at least 2 types of Mexican beer. The standard requests often consist of Pacifico, Corona, Dos XX, Modelo and a few others. Remember if you are offering Mexican beers it is best to have additional limes.

European or Import: Though Mexican beer is an import beer; it is best to offer at least one type of European or Import beer. These are typically lagers such as Stella, Heineken, or Amstel Light.

American or Light Beer: These can be your 'light beer' request and cover the 'American Beer' request at the same time and it is best to have one option of these available. These can include Coors Light, Bud Light, Natural Light etc.

Specialty or Dark Beer: It is also good to have at least one option for a 'specialty beer'. These beers can be the darker lagers or IPAs. You will always have a request for one of these types. They can include Longboard, Kona, 805, Sam Adams or other darker beer.

Seltzers: It is amazing how popular seltzers have become over the last decade; thus you should definitely provide at one option of a seltzer brand. Now seltzers often come in variety flavor packs thus the reason for a 'single brand', and candidly there are pros and cons to offering variety packs. Pros: offer more selections; Cons: The bartender is slowed down when having to look for specific requests, and nothing is worse than running out of one type and having extras of the unwanted flavor.

Other suggestions/tips that go a long way in making a successful bar.

Make sure you have multiple bottle openers not only for the wine bottles but also for the beer bottles as well. When purchasing wine openers, make sure you have a few handy.

Wine Key Openers: See here on Amazon for Options. They are efficient, budget-friendly, and sleek, this classic wine key is another great all-rounder. They appeal to the service industry and home drinkers alike with its two-step design and grooved screw. This way, it's intended to maximize movement through cork as smoothly and as vertically as possible. Most waiter's friend-style corkscrews are extremely versatile and work well for any type of cork. Plus, they can easily live in a pocket or bag.

Flat Bartender Bottle Openers: See here on Amazon for Options. These flat openers are great for many reasons, but the simplicity of the tool is what makes it the best; it is one of those items' bartenders can all keep in their pocket but never really think too much about because it's our dependable staple tool.

Additional Information and References for an Event or Catered Bar

Remember to also check out all of the articles related to this blog:

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