Recommendations & Reviews

The Ultimate Guide to Choosing Beer for Your Wedding

Should I buy beer bottles or beer kegs for my wedding? How much beer should I buy for a wedding of 100 people? This wedding beer guide was created to make the process of buying beer for your wedding day simple.

The Ultimate Guide to Choosing Beer for Your Wedding

Buying and choosing beer for your wedding can be an overwhelming experience. There are many things to consider when it comes to choosing the best beer to serve at your wedding ceremony or reception and if you’re not having a brewery wedding – well, there’s more work for you to do.

To alleviate some of that stress and make your beer selecting experience simple, we’ve created this “wedding beer guide” to help you select the perfect beer for your big day. This guide will help you figure out which beer styles to serve, what to consider when picking beers for your wedding, how to pair your beer and how much beer you need to buy for a wedding.


What to consider when buying beer for your wedding


Before you choose the beer for a wedding, keep the following in mind:

Corkage at wedding Venues

Make sure your wedding/reception venue has corkage! Many venues have a corkage fee at a cost per head or per bottle, be aware of the fees and restrictions before starting your beer shopping for your wedding.

Time Frame when Ordering Beer for Weddings

Start your beer hunting early. You’ll want to order your beer in bulk and in advance, to avoid any mishaps and to make sure all your desired beers are available in the quantities you require.

When it’s time to start choosing your beer, consider the following:


How much will beer cost for a wedding?

The answer for this really depends; you can expect to budget a minimum of $1,200 for a wedding reception of 50 people; or over $2,000 for a wedding of over 100 people, or for a wedding with especially…thirsty guests. Nobody likes budgeting on a guess, so let’s crunch some numbers…


What is your alcohol budget for your wedding?

Consider your budget. There are an array of beers you can purchase within any budget, however, your budget is the limiting factor when it comes to your options. Calculate what you’re willing to spend on alcohol at your wedding reception and what percentage of that you’re willing to spend on beer. How much are you willing to spend per case or per table? Will you be getting bottles or cans? Will you be getting a keg? How much beer are you are expecting your wedding guests to drink? Which ties us into the next factor…


How many guests will be attending your wedding reception?

What’s your headcount? How many guests at your wedding will be drinking beer? Do you have some serious beer geeks on your guest list? Do you have beer geeks on your guest list? Or do you have some people who would prefer wine?


How much wine and beer for a wedding?
Check out our article on How to Choose Wine for Your Wedding


How much beer should you buy for a wedding?

The most important question, “How much beer should I buy for my wedding?” Whether you have a smaller wedding of fewer than 100 guests or a bigger one with over 100, you don’t want to run out of beer. So, here’s the rule of thumb, when figuring out how much beer you need to buy for your wedding:


How to calculate alcohol for a wedding reception

Generally, you’ll want to calculate 1 drink per guest, per wedding reception hour. However, when it comes to beers and ciders – it’s safe to estimate about 35% of the alcohol consumed will be beer, if you’re only serving beer and wine. If you’re serving cocktails along with beer, wine and ciders, this number will probably be closer to 20%.

This could be an overestimation or an underestimation depending on the demand for beer, however, in combination with other alcoholic beverages, this will hit the sweet spot and help you calculate which option is best for you: beer bottles or draft beer.


Consider your wedding venue, location and the time of year

These may seem like rather odd factors to consider when choosing beer, but these factors play into how much beer your guests will be likely to consume, thus the ratios you will need to purchase. If you’re having a summer wedding and your reception is outdoors on a hot day in the middle of July, your guests are likely to lean towards a nice, cold beer.


Best Beer for Wedding Receptions
Beer Cans vs Beer Bottles vs Keg


Why Use Beer Bottles or Beer Cans at Your Wedding Reception:


More beer style variety with beer bottles

Bottles and cans may be the best option if you’re interested in providing more beer style options and beer variety for your wedding guests. Unless you’re willing to buy 10 kegs of different beers!


Cost of Beer Bottles and Beer Cans For Weddings

Individual beer bottles and cans are great because each person can have their own individual can or bottle. However, the cost of beer bottles and cans will generally be higher than a keg, especially if you’re having a big wedding. You can offset this by buying beer by the case from breweries.


Personalize your beer bottles with Wedding Beer Labels

If decor is a big part of your wedding, beer bottles may be the choice for you. Personalized beer labels have become a popular wedding trend. If it’s important that your guests are drinking out of beer bottles that match your wedding colours and have the bride and grooms initials on them, go for it!



Save leftover beer from your wedding easily with beer bottles

If you have leftover beer from your wedding reception, beer bottles allow you to take them home and stick them in your fridge! Or give them away as party favours. Kegs often allow for more wasted beer, so beer bottles are recommended for smaller weddings.


Why You Should Use A Beer Keg at Your Wedding Reception:


Kegs are great options for larger weddings

While options can be limited, depending on how many beer kegs you are willing to purchase, kegs are a great option for large weddings with many guests.


How many pints of beer is in a keg?

A sixth barrel keg holds about 15.5 gallons which is approximately 41 pints of beer. A fourth barrel keg (a.k.a pony keg) holds about 62 pints of beer. A full-size keg (1/2 barrel keg) contains about 124 pints of beer.


Save money by using kegs for the beer at your wedding

Kegs are a great way to cut alcohol costs for a wedding, especially if you’re going to have a pretty big reception. Pricing varies depending on the size, brand, beer style and more, but you can fill more glasses for less going the keg route for larger weddings.


Have a DIY Beer Bar at your wedding with kegs

“Beer Bars” are a popular wedding trend, especially at outdoor weddings. Choosing 3-5 beer styles and creating an open beer bar for your guests to fill their glasses may be a way to cut costs and add a unique touch at your wedding.



Now that you know how much beer you need to buy for your wedding, now it’s time to figure out what beer styles to serve! Check out these articles you might like:

JustBeer University – Beer Styles 201
Beer Profiles: Crisp and Clean
Non-Alcoholic Beers That Actually Taste Like Beer

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