Before you head out on your booze run, here are a few things to consider. First, how many options do you want to provide to guests? Are you throwing a beer-only event? Do you suspect that some of your guests will be happier with a glass of red or white wine in one hand? Or are you planning on playing at-home mixologist all evening? Ironically, the more options you have at your party, the more limitations you’ll be setting up for yourself as the night unfolds. If you only get a few bottles of red wine because you spent the rest of your money on a wide assortment of local beers and liquors, you’ll run out of red wine faster, and your wine-friends will be straight out of luck in the beverage department. Keep things simple by sticking to a small variety of beverages to lessen the chance that you’ll run out of any one option.
The next things to consider are how many guests will be at your party and how long your party will last. These are the biggest factors when deciding how much alcohol you’ll need for your party. Generally speaking, you can count on your guests drinking one beverage every hour. If you’re serving mostly beer, be safe and increase that number by 25%, since beer typically is consumed more quickly than a mixed drink or glass of wine.
If you’re keeping your beverage options limited to beer and wine only, it’s safe to assume that 60% of your guests will drink beer, and the other 40% will have wine.