The More Beverage Options the Better
By Jennifer Petsche, Marketing Communication Strategist, Creative Group
Food & Beverage is a huge part of any event. Alcohol, especially at celebratory events, is often expected—the popping of champagne bottles, exotic cocktail menus, top-shelf brands, and so on. Traditionally, attending big events meant letting loose and imbibing. The top question when an event is approaching is, “What’s the food and beverage menu?” Or is that just me…? Anyway…
There are many reasons people may be going alcohol-free at events: the sober curious trend, wanting to live a healthier lifestyle, medical conditions, religious or cultural beliefs, and many more people participating in Dry January (it’s an easy one-month resolution, right?). Particularly the younger demographic (18 – 34) is drinking less, and less often. Whatever the reason, there will likely be more event attendees who want non-alcoholic options in 2024 and beyond.
We should keep in mind that attendees drinking something other than alcohol still want the beautiful glasses and fun-looking drinks befitting a celebration. Fancy drinks are fun, plus some non-drinkers don’t want to be obvious. I once was “that person” who called out a friend for drinking plain club soda—she never drank club soda!—without thinking. Yep, she was early in her pregnancy and not telling anyone yet. She handled it well at the time and no one caught on, but imagine if she had been able to order a cute “mocktail” instead?! Thankfully, it can be easy to meet the needs of those who want alcohol-free beverages if we include it in the planning. Here are some fun ways to incorporate more non-alcoholic beverages at your next meeting or event.
- Use beautiful glassware and colorful, fresh garnishes on zero-proof beverages—even water! Just because someone is foregoing alcohol doesn’t mean they have to forego the fun!
- Give zero-proof cocktails fun names like so many cocktails often have. For example, maybe you call a cranberry juice concoction Cranberry Bliss or Berry Zing. Creating a cool name for a signature drink is also a great way to pull your event theme through.
- Offer tasting flights of non-alcoholic drinks so attendees can try a few different ones. Sometimes, unexpected combinations of ingredients can result in surprisingly delicious flavors!
- Keep the non-alcoholic drink menu a similar size to the alcoholic one—everyone loves choices! Many programs will feature a curated, branded alcoholic drink for a particular evening event. Offering a similarly complex or exotic zero-proof cocktail ensures that everyone will have refreshing options.
- Offer hop water and non-alcoholic “bubbly” and beer for more traditional tastes.
- There are also plenty of pre-made, or canned, non-alcoholic beverages. Where hard seltzers were once all the rage, now NA drinks are on the rise.
Whether attendees are refraining from alcohol for health or personal reasons, or because of an early morning start the next day, your NA drink menu and intentional planning will be appreciated. As we all know, event design is about customizing the experience and making everyone feel included! Cheers!