Thursday, February 12, 2004
Craig Whether it's kegs or bottles, whiskey or wine, dry champagne or citrus mix, choices abound for stocking the wedding bar.
Discriminating drinkers may know exactly what they want before walking through the liquor store door. Virtually any well-stocked store can serve them. But the light social drinker may not know the difference between a chardonnay and a merlot. Arctic Liquors in Steamboat Springs is prepared to help explain the nuances of wines and spirits.
Arctic Liquors offers full wedding service, from alcohol selection to serving. Jim Armstrong, owner of Arctic Liquors, has been servicing weddings for the past four years.
"Normally the bride and the groom come in with their parents," Armstrong said. The store's staff assists the couple with wine selection, often basing their recommendations on what other wedding parties have done and what has been successful.
The Bottleneck, also in Steamboat, provides similar services, and often offers discounts to wedding parties. Cody Marshall of The Bottleneck said in the summer, beer is usually more popular than wine. Kegs are best for bigger parties, simply because they're more economical. He has found that couples host open bars about 75 percent of the time. Cash bars are usually stocked and tended by the catering service.
Sometimes it's challenging to predict how much drink is needed at a reception. Estimates based on the number of guests help, Marshall said, but there's no formula to determine the quantity needed. Often, the host's knowledge of the guests' personalities is the best indicator.
If a party has been overstocked, The Bottleneck and Arctic Liquors will buy back unopened bottles.
Beef and Peppers restaurant in Craig has a fully stocked bar with well drinks and has hosted several wedding receptions, said owner Peggy Satterwaite.
Like most liquor stores, Beef and Peppers' staff assists celebrants in liquor selection. It's common practice to purchase a more expensive champagne for the newlyweds, and less expensive bottles for everyone else, Satterwaite said.
She has found most couples opt for a cash bar while celebrating at Beef and Peppers. The restaurant provides a professional bartender.
Many wedding receptions are hosted on Yampa Valley ranches. High temperatures make ice a vital component for these summertime celebrations, Armstrong said.
Kegs are preferable for mountain weddings, simply for logistical purposes, Larry Seip of Loadout Liquors said.
Arctic Liquors has delivered to reception sites as far as an hour's drive from Steamboat. The store provides trailers of ice, carbon dioxide taps, and a list of bartenders who can keep whistles wet during the reception.