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Where to Buy Low Cost Beer/Wine for a Wedding

  • k

We want to serve low cost but good quality beer and wine at our wedding. Our wedding caterer recommended the beers and wines below. If anyone has any that we should add to the list, please let me know.

Most importantly where is the best (a.k.a. cheapest) place to buy all this stuff?


Trump Pilsner
Anchor Steam

Sauvignon Blanc

Dynamite/Lake County
Quivira/Dry Creek Valley
Whitehall Lane/Napa
Shooting Star/Lake County


Fritz/dry creek valley
Sobon Estate/sierra foothills
shooting star/Lake
Ravenswood Lodi Old Vine/Lodi
Qujivira/Dry Creek/might be a bit over $15 but worth it/

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  1. The prices are pretty good at BevMo, you should go there and price out how much each of these would be. At most places you get a case discount for wines, so also ask them what that discount would be.

      1. re: kc72

        I've sometimes seen Anchor at the SF Costco. Usually their beer prices are the lowest.

        1. re: Robert Lauriston

          BevMo can do kegs of Anchor Steam; I don't know if Costco offers that. When I've just walked into the freezer to check stock they've only had the traditional steam beer but they could probably order a keg of any other Anchor Steam product. Full kegs, half kegs, and maybe pony kegs are available.

          1. re: SteveG

            A pony keg is the same as 80 bottles of beer, or about 6.5 cases of beer. Assuming wine, champagne, and hard liquor are also being served at the wedding, that's too much beer for a reception of up to 150 guests, and limits guests to just one kind of beer. Obviously if there will be 200 or 300 or more guests, then a pony keg can work.

            A full keg (same as half barrel) is double the amount of a pony keg. That's a serious amount of beer - appropriate for a fraternity party, but maybe not for a moderately sized wedding.

            Someone's also gotta return the keg and pump to the store, instead of just recycling bottles.

            If you're going to BevMo, you might as well take advantage of the wide selection of beers that they have. One lighter lager and one darker beer would seem to be the minimum variety to offer your wedding guests.

            1. re: Benny Choi

              Off topic, but just to clarify things:

              A pony keg is a quarter keg, which should be ~3.5 cases. I think what I've actually thought about getting at BevMo is a "sixth barrel" which is 2.5 cases or 5 gallons.

              The reason I suggested this option is Anchor Steam's more interesting beers aren't easy to find in bottles even in San Francisco, but you can order small kegs of them.

      2. I think your best bet is Kermit Lynch in Berkeley. They certainly carry many expensive wines, but their lower priced bottles are also outstanding. The staff is very helpful and if you explain your budget and menu, they will find you some wines to work with your budget and compliment the food.

        Kermit Lynch Wine Merchant
        1605 San Pablo Ave, Berkeley, CA 94702

        4 Replies
        1. re: Husky

          Kermit doesn't carry *any* beer or California wine, only European wines he imports himself. Also, since he's also a wholesaler, his retail shop doesn't discount (except the usual 10% case discount).

          1. re: Robert Lauriston

            I forgot to mention to look elsewhere for the beer, but wouldn't you agree that for comparable dollars, one can get a better wine from KL, than the wines (all CA) recommended above?

            1. re: Husky

              Yes and no, but that's a discussion for the Wine board.

              1. re: Husky

                NO. Not if the OP is looking for CA wines.

                Isn't it a little like telling someone who's looking for a pick-up truck to take a look at SAAB? The question isn't "better wine" -- and they may not be better wines . . . isn't that up to one's own taste buds?

                Further, Vintage Berkeley has MUCH better low-end wines than Kermit. (But again, that's my opinion, based on my taste buds -- YMMV.) ;^)

          2. Sauvignon blanc, frankly I think New Zealand makes better wines at lower prices, but that's a topic for the Wine board.

            3 Replies
            1. re: Robert Lauriston

              I think Trader Joes is often an overlooked spot for low cost beer and wine. i have found their prices lower than BevMo and comparable/better than Costco. They also tend to have a better wine selection than the costcos that I have been to.

              1. re: sfoperalover

                Costco is the largest retailer of wine in the country. All of the Costcos I've been to in the Bay Area blow TJs away with the level of quality wines they carry at all price levels.

                1. re: Husky

                  i've only been to the costco in SF, and this wasn't my experience at all. I left and went to TJs to buy wine.

            2. For a local wedding, I like the idea of serving local wine/beer.
              Anchor Steam is rarely discounted. Costco is probably your best bet.
              For the Sauvignon Blanc/Zinfandel I'd check prices at Cost Plus, BevMo and K&L
              Additional recomendations - Mason for Sauvignon Blanc, Renwood Sierra Series for Zin.

              1 Reply
              1. re: Trevallon

                Local is a nice touch...visitors would like, but so would locals. Anchor Steam in a keg would be a good value. How a keg plays at a wedding is another matter...but if you want to save $$$, that's a good way. I'd guess it would be half the cost of bottles.

              2. I recently got married and had the opportunity to purchase all the alcohol for the wedding reception dinner and bar. I bought 12-bottle cases of Anchor Steam at $12.99 from BevMo. After the wedding, I was able to return unopened cases with receipt for full refund. Some wine enthusiast friends helped us select and purchase cases of inexpensive yet good quality wines from K&L Wines (ranging from $10 to $14 per bottle, all imported since inexpensive California wines aren't as good as inexpensive European wines, including the champagne). I also bought some hard liquor from Costco and was also able to return unopened bottles with receipt for full refund.

                The folks at K&L Wines were helpful and suggested a few choices. We bought single bottles of their suggestions and had a little wine tasting / food pairing dinner session with our wine-enthusiast friends, buying take-out restaurant food similar to what we knew our caterer would be serving. We eliminated some choices and narrowed it down to one red and two whites plus the champagne, and had the peace of mind knowing our inexpensive wines would satisfy any picky wine drinkers, pair well with our food, and not break the bank (unlike other aspects of our wedding costs!).

                Be sure to instruct your caterers to only open bottles as needed, so you can at least take home unused ones, and potentially return some to the store(s).

                Good luck!

                1 Reply
                1. re: Benny Choi

                  I did an event where I wanted to serve local products, and BevMo had a very nice selection of local beers that were within my budget. If you start a couple of months in advance you can look out for sales (my event was in February, and the week before Superbowl Sunday everyone has beer, soda and chips on sale, so I stocked up them -- supermarket sale prices will significantly beat Costco, and it's easier to mix and match smaller units). I also bought a couple of cases of Sierra Nevada Pale Ale, which is a good "all around" beer: good enough that the beer snobs will tolerate it, but not so "weird" that the Bud drinkers are freaked by it. I ended up taking one case back to Costco, and they took it no problem.

                2. katya, this weekend I was reminded about Mas Vino in a keg. I had a chance to taste the red and white blends, and they're better and cheaper than anything on your list. they're perfect for parties.

                  Mas Vino post

                  5 Replies
                  1. re: Melanie Wong

                    Thank you, Melanie! I know you're the most trusted source there is on this!
                    Do you know where I can get it in the South Bay?

                    1. re: katya

                      Here's the phone number for Mas Vino from its website, 707-921-9260. You might call the marketing/sales person to see if you can arrange a delivery to the South Bay. Only one retailer was listed, Bottle Barn in Santa Rosa.

                      Here's the local distributor for restaurants and bars,
                      Hudson Beverage
                      630 Quinn Avenue
                      San Jose, CA 95112

                      I believe there's a sizeable deposit for the equipment. It'll be much easier on your caterer than opening a bunch of bottles and worrying about cork taint. Hope you can get access to Mas Vino. If you don't drink it all, the wine in the keg should keep until you get back from your honeymoon and you can have another party!

                      P.S. Your caterer came up with a good list of value wine recs for you. Wine-savvy.

                      1. re: Melanie Wong

                        I'm glad to hear that you think the wine recs are good. I'm relieved!

                        The wedding is this Sunday so I don't think I'll be able to have anything ship in time. I appreciate you looking into it for me though!

                        1. re: katya

                          I thought that the company might work out delivery via the distributor in San Jose, if they were motivated enough.

                          1. re: Melanie Wong

                            I'll look into it. Maybe we could just pick it up in San Jose...

                  2. If you live in the North Bay, Bottle Barn is a wonderful place in Santa Rosa that's stocked with many low-priced wines and beers. www.bottlebarn.com

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: Jewbacca

                      And Bottle Barn has the Wine Annex in Healdsburg where you can taste as well. Not as fully stocked as Santa Rosa, but same great prices.

                    2. I do lots of event planning and prices between BevMo, Costco and local grocery stores can be pretty close. It just depends on the specific wine you're looking for. Costco only carries some brands so if you're particular about what you want, Costco might not work for you. Bevmo on the other hand, carries ALOT of varieties.

                      Quick tip- you can find all the prices for BevMo online and if you like them, order it and they'll have it ready to pick up at your local store without you having to walk around the store and look for everything you want. Its a big timesaver.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: lamster

                        Great idea - I didn't know the BevMo prices were online!