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How Much Alcohol to buy?

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My friend is hosting his Fraternity's anniversary party this month and I agreed to help run the bar. I've got the mixing part down, but really not sure just how much alcohol we are going to need.

He said there was going to be about 50 people at the party and we are going to do an open bar.

With my estimations, I was planning on getting two of everything in the well, and maybe skipping the Rye -- with backups of Vodka, Tequila and Rum.

A half case of red and a half case of white wine with three or four bottles of blush wine.

We will also have a keg on tap.

Is this enough or to much?

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  1. Working out some math, that is about 15 gallons of beer. If you were serving pints, you would have 120 pints available. With 12 ounce beers, you would get 160 servings.

    You have about 15 bottles of wine, with 750 ML or 25.4 oz. per bottle, for a total of about 381 ozs. If you were serving standard 5 ounce glasses of wine, that would give you about 76 glasses.

    You do not mention what is in the well, but if we assume it is 2 bottles each of scotch, bourbon, and gin and three bottles each of vodka, tequila and rum, that would give you 15 bottles, or about 250, give or take few, shots for mixed and other drinks.

    In total you would have 340-400 servings of alcohol. Each person would therefore have available to them at least 7 drinks.

    I think you have enough, but depending on the crowd you might want to adjust some quantities. If you were willing to make margeuritas, you might have enough or even not enough tequila. However, if you are not making them, do you think this crowd is going to hit the shots of tequila hard? Lay out the numbers for him and talk to your buddy about any adjustments.

    1. Rather than try to be precise, can you find a liquor store that will let you return unopened stock? If so, buy twice what you think you need and return what you can the next day. Depending on where you are, you might require a license before a store will do this for you, but it's better than running out. And if captain's math is right, and you've allowed for 7 drinks per person...who knows. I'd go higher given that it is a frat anniversary party!

      1 Reply
      1. re: Dan G

        Thank you for doing the math. Yeah, your right I might want to estimate higher considering who will be attending. I'm also thinking that the original estimate of 40-50 people might be a lowball as well.

        This is going to be a wild ride :)