Libations have been a part of social gatherings for ages, and have certainly been a big to-do in event planning of all types. However, as we continue to shape this new millennium, it’s time to reconsider how we include a growing number of attendees who don’t consume alcohol. Read on for our thoughts on why mocktails and/or booze-free drinks are important, and how to serve them at your next event.
Inclusion & care
According to the National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, 30% of Americans don’t consume alcohol. People pass on alcohol for a variety of reasons: religious beliefs, pregnancy, intolerance or allergy, health or dietary reasons, recovering addiction, a general dislike, safety precautions and beyond. It’s clear that if we fail to include a medley of drink options we’re excluding some of our attendees from the fun. Furthermore, as event professionals our first priority is taking care of our guests which includes offering healthy options and keeping everyone safe.
Have fun with mocktails
Whether you have exciting cocktails on your menu or your event is completely alcohol-free, we highly suggest adding mocktails to the equation. Mocktails go far beyond a drab club soda and lime or a Shirley Temple. Give your alcohol-free guests the same fun options that you’re offering on your cocktail list, only without the booze. The fruity sips, the special glassware, pretty colors, tasty salt garnish and decorative umbrella are all part of the experience, even without the liquor!
Serving your guests
Remember how cool Tom Cruise was in “Cocktail?” He was having so much fun behind the bar and looked good doing it. Work with an expert mixologist who will help you create specialty drinks, with and without booze. Receiving a drink from a bartender who cares about the experience will make all the difference, as will the station from which it’s being served. Those who don’t drink alcohol have been excluded enough over the years. Don’t draw attention to their personal choice or disclude them by directing them to an isolated or separate “alcohol-free station.” Serve everyone’s drinks from the same place.
Offer healthy and energizing beverages
Health conscious drinks such as energizing juice or superfood smoothies are not just a trend, they’re part of an expanding lifestyle — and for good reason. Your attendees are already going to be jazzed about the event itself and what better way to keep them alert and engaged than with delicious and nutritious drinks. Consider partnering with a local juicery or health/fitness organization to create beverages that aren’t just playful but also beneficial.
Spread the word
Just as you might promote trendy cocktails or an open bar as part of the experience, highlight the beverage choices you’ve made in all of your marketing efforts. Not only does this let your audience know that you’re ahead of the curve but it’s another way to let those who don’t consume alcohol know they’re included in a big way.
Above all else, remember that refreshments are just one part of the extraordinary event that you’re planning. The bigger goal is to capture your audience’s attention and create a memorable experience. Creating networking opportunities, hosting interesting sessions, incorporating the latest tech, gamifying the event, scheduling entertainment and educational presenters will leave a much longer lasting impression than a cocktail and a hangover.
How can MeetingPlay help?
Sure, we fancy ourselves mixologists in the making, but more importantly we've executed and attended so many events - we've seen and done it all and are happy to share our experiences and best practices with you. Just drop us a line.
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