Jerry Kruse, owner of The Pour Guys, was one of the first subjects of “In Any Event” when this site launched in 2014.
We checked in with Kruse a year later to see what’s on his mind. Turns out it’s ice, water and margarita machines.
Kruse and his crew have a vital piece of advice for planners: Don’t skimp on the ice order.
East Tennessee is enduring record heat and keeping beverages cold, especially when a bar is set up outside, requires loading up on ice.
“A lot of people don’t understand why it costs so much for the ice now,” Kruse said. “We are burning through the ice.”
A galvanized tub of beverages on ice means the bottles are bobbing in lukewarm water 30 minutes later if ice isn’t being regularly added.
Even coolers with lids have faster meltdown in this heat, Kruse noted, because the bartenders are constantly opening and closing them.
Kruse advised planners to look at their budget for ice and then double it this summer.
Proper hydration also is critical when the temperatures are soaring all day, and muggy weather remains into the evening. Kruse recommends strategic “drink stations” so guests always have access to water, lemonade and tea. Position one near the entrance to an event and have another in the bar area.
In earlier blog entries on EventCheck Knox, we outlined how to order the right amount of alcohol for an event and the surge in popularity of specialty drinks.
Specialty drinks remain widely popular, and Kruse has some basic advice about them: “Make them colorful. Make it simple to make.”
Mojitos are a popular summertime drink, but they are best for gatherings of under 100 people, Kruse advised. The mint must be muddled to prepare the drink correctly.
“You are making it to order,” Kruse said. “You can’t do it in bulk.”
If a drink requires too many steps, the bartenders can get backlogged. When events have more than 100 guests, Kruse suggested specialty drinks with no more than two steps so bartenders can prepare them quickly. Otherwise, guests are waiting in line.
“People get frustrated, especially if they’re outside and hot,” he said.
That brings Kruse to the margarita machines, which deliver a fun, frozen concoction. Guests can have multiple flavor choices, and the drinks are easy to pour and serve.
“It’s so good that everybody gravitates to it,” Kruse said. “But you burn through it fast.”
Attendees at a recent event emptied four machines in 30 minutes, Kruse said. That’s the good news – guests really enjoy it, especially in the summer. But the bad news is the frozen mixes can take about an hour of preparation for the bar, and that’s a long wait for refills.
Kruse said that situation underscores the necessity of detailed communication between planners and the bar service well before the event. If frozen margaritas are on the menu, plan accordingly in terms of pre-mixed availability based on the number of attendees.
“I want to be a resource for planners,” Kruse said. “Talk to us ahead of time, and we’ll make sure the available quantity matches the expected number of guests and that planners understand the logistics.
“Reach out to me or our company. Find out what it looks like in action.”
Kruse has one more suggestion when making beverage selections this summer. White wines are much preferred over reds in hot weather, especially pinot grigio.
But for those who enjoy red wine, have sangria available at the bar.
“That is a refreshing compromise,” Kruse said.
So, keep guests hydrated, and let the fun beverages flow.
“Beverage choices and availability can make or break an event in the summertime,” Kruse said. “You want it to be perfect from the moment guests arrive.”
Maria Cornelius, a writer/editor for Moxley Carmichael, populates the EventCheck Knox calendar and oversees blog content. Now that it’s hot, look for her at a Smokies game with a cold Miller Lite and a baseball glove.