To Bar or Not to Bar:  The Corporate Event Drama surrounding alcohol consumption at holiday events

Everyone looks forward to a corporate event, especially when the company is footing the bill for great food & beverage!  The goal of the company’s event could be recognize, to reward, to announce, to celebrate—for any number of good reasons.

But in addition to costs, the company recognizes their corporate responsibility for drinking appropriately and of course, not driving afterwards, should their event have been too much of a good time.

Here’s some techniques to consider that help control an “Open Bar” or alcohol consumption in general:

·      Servers passing a certain type of wine, or cocktail: this takes pressure off the bar and adds another layer of service.  The servers can offer red or white wine, but not both on the same tray.  Even a few minutes longer looking for your favorite red can delay the amount of alcohol consumed.   The wine drinkers may never approach the bar if they are true wine drinkers. We loved greeting guests with these mini Patron margaritas; everyone had a specialty cocktail in hand which set the right tone while allowing the bar service to begin at a reasonable level.

·      Split up the bars—and what is offered on each:  how about one bar that offers only champagne or prosecco?  Another that is a Bacardi Rum Bar?  A flight of mini Vodka tastings at another bar with opportunity to rate the trio so people get engaged and choose a “blind winner” before the event is over?  Or a Craft Beer tasting station with mini take-away glasses that have been logo imprinted?  Be strategic in how you look at the bar and plan for something different but also an approach that meets your goals for corporate responsibility. This beautiful bar only served bubbly & apertivo/digestivo, a lovely break from a busy bar.


·      You can always offer what is termed a “limited bar” which is wine and beer only.  Not a lot of magic here, so no hard liquor. For those on staff who say there HAS to be SOMETHING more interesting than wine and beer, then choose and name a corporate mixed drink for the night (and only one), featuring it at a bar of its own.  Make the drink cool and colorful or sophisticated and unexpected with perhaps a high-end bourbon or gin with some muddled berries and mint over crushed ice—YUM!

To Bar or Not to Bar: The Corporate Event Dilemma

·      Bartenders who ARE the show!  Great mixologists can hold a crowd spellbound while taking the appropriate amount of time to deliver a great drink, talking through the process.  Again, this is a great technique to entertain but also to slow the amount of alcohol that is consumed vs. the traditional step-up-and-order-your-favorite-mixed-drink-type bar with bartenders working feverishly to turn out drinks as fast as they can!  Yes, there is a cost to professional mixologists, but they help you to weigh your options and ultimate costs.

To Bar or Not to Bar: The Corporate Event Dilemma

·      And then the newest approach:  the NO BAR Bar.  Going back to the servers first mentioned, several types of drinks are decided upon by the company, and it is the responsibility of the servers to continuously butler drinks of the type that have been chosen:  typically (2) wines, (2) bottled beers, a Gin drink and a Vodka.  All of these would disappear after 2 hours (as in a 3-hour event), and small cordials are then passed for a change of pace and taste for the last hour—or a service cart makes an appearance with several cordial bottles and cordial glasses, staffed of course to monitor the pour. Check out our Champagne Vending Machine, which is fully customizable, and gives guest a novelty experience with their cocktail.

To Bar or Not to Bar: The Corporate Event Dilemma