Often as we assist couples planning their wedding or wedding reception there is confusion on how the serving of beer, wine, or mixed drinks affects the pricing of the venue being used.
This is a short explanation of what has to be factored in by the person/company renting the wedding location to you.
This next sentence is a general statement and it varies from state to state, city to city within states, and often county to county in some states.
"In most jurisidictions there is an additional license cost to be able to "serve alcohol on premise".
In most states the cost of that license varies depending on whether one chooses to serve "hard liquor" versus wine or beer. If hard liquor is chosen then the cost is generally higher the licensing agency will charge the wedding location vendor. The distinction here is not whether the wedding reception venue can sell alcohol, but whether they can serve it on the premise.
Let me give you an example that has occurred in our facility several times. We sell wine and beer in our facility and also have a wedding venue in the same facility. If a wedding couple wanted to buy a bottle of wine in our store they might pay say $9.99 for the bottle. This assumes they are not opening the bottle of wine on the premise.
Now if that same wedding couple wants the exact same bottle of wine to serve during the wedding then the cost is increased to $11.99 for the $9.99 bottle of wine. Here's why.
The wedding facility has to pay an additional yearly fee for the right to "serve on premise" and that fee can be literally 10% more or many multiples of the right to "sell on premise". In some states such as Massachusetts they historically limit the number of facilities that can sell and serve so it's not unusual for a license to sell in the $100,000 to $750,000 range. In those type jurisdictions merely to have the license is a license to succeed and often the largest value of any wedding reception venue is not the business they do or do not do but the actual license itself since it is rare and is limited. In our state, North Carolina, we simply apply for the license, comply with the requirement rules, and the license is issued. By limiting the people who can have a license no artificial value is charged nor is there a profit motive generated by limiting access to the license.
Also the wedding facility has to carry a different type of insurance now that alcohol, wine, beer is served on premise. This is because if the facility fails to use due care by serving an intoxicated person and an accident occurs then the wedding venue can be held liable for damages and be sued.
These are some of the issues involved with serving alcohol and also why in many cases the cost for a bottle of wine, a beer, a mixed drink may add some incremental cost to the use of the event space. It's not based upon simply deciding to charge more but in many wedding and wedding reception venues that are used only 1 or 2 days per week at most, then the additonal costs have to be recouped..
For very good wedding venues the additonal costs are worth it as in special occassions like weddings and wedding receptions, it's worth it to make the day special by pleasing your customer whenever possible. The customer is right and I know at the Event Gallery of The Cotton Company we always try to help make the occassion what the bride and groom desire.