Party Planning 101: How much beer should we get?

Posted on May 13, 2010 by Mary Ellen Brewington

East Tennessee hospitality is known throughout the country. We gather together for any occasion: wedding celebrations, sporting events or just to hang out on the patio enjoying our fine summer nights. There is always a reason to throw a party!

The folks at Cherokee get many calls from friends saying, “We’re hosting an event. How much beer do we need?” The math is easy: Plan on two to three beers per beer drinker. The next question a party planner should consider is, “What else am I serving?” If you are serving wine and it’s a mixed crowd of males and females, typically half of the guests will drink wine and half will drink beer.

Here are some more tips to help plan your next party or gathering:

Keep your beverage choices simple. Follow your party theme. For example, at a Super Bowl party this winter we enjoyed Abita Beer from New Orleans to represent the Saints, and for the Colts fans we served our tried-and-true, Midwestern favorites Miller High Life and Miller Lite, born from Milwaukee.

Prepare for large crowds. If you’re hosting a big celebration like a wedding reception and your guest list is climbing beyond 50 people, it’s often easiest and most economical to serve keg beer. Many brands are available in half-barrels and quarter-barrels. A half-barrel provides a little over 200 ten-ounce cup servings. Most large grocery store chains like Kroger sell keg beer.

Go outside the typical beer brand box. You can enjoy your favorite brews, but there’s always something new to try from Cherokee’s long list of possibilities. Visit for a list of our brands and links to our suppliers. Our supplier websites offer descriptions of their styles and their seasonal specialty products.

Allow your guests easy access to the refreshments. Galvanized tubs from the hardware store look charming on a deck or patio. As host or hostess, you can spend more time enjoying your company if you’re not constantly trying to replenish the beverages. If you’re serving bottled or canned products, set out a basket of koozies or bottle/can covers so guests can keep their beverages cold. Most of us have a stash of these drink covers from previous parties, but if you want to create some to go with your party theme, many places will personalize them with your own message. A local favorite is Label Industries, a Knoxville-based company you can find at

Party responsibly. The final and most important advice from Cherokee is to serve non-alcoholic beverages, water and food so that guests can pace themselves to truly enjoy the evening. Make sure no one who could be a danger to themselves or to others drives away from your party. Provide designated drivers, taxi cab information or contact our newest responsibility partner, Zingo Knoxville, at They will get your guests and their cars home safely. Celebrate any occasion, but enjoy all of the fun responsibly.

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