I had the chance to interview Jill Peters the event coordinator of Beverage Specialists of Southwest Michigan. Jill is the go to contact for anyone that needs to schedule an event for beverage catering. She is the contact every step of the way, from planning your menu, to setting up the event.
How long have you been in business?
Charlie and Barb are the owners of Beverage Specialists of Southwest Michigan. They have been business owners for 42 years. They have owned a business in Michigan for 10 years and have done beverage catering for 7 years. Currently Charlie and Barb own three businesses, one being the Beverage Specialists of Southwest Michigan, as well as a brick and mortar liquor store called Liquor Locker, and Roosters located in St. Joseph, MI.
What services do you provide?
We offer beverage catering, anything you would ever need for a bar, from beer and wine, to pop and water. We also provide bar tenders. Our bartenders are licensed and insured. We think it is very critical that any person you hire for an event is insured and properly trained. Also hiring a bartender isn’t as expensive as people think it may be. For a 4 hour time period it is $100. By hiring a bartender it takes pressure off of the host, and allows them to enjoy their party.
How long have you worked alongside Classic Catering?
We have worked with Classic for 5 years.
Do you provide a bar?
We do not provide a bar only the alcohol so we suggest our vendor partner Classic Catering & Events.
What events do you specialize in?
The bulk of our business is weddings, but we also book a great deal of birthday parties, graduation parties, and special events, such as fund raisers for local organizations. Non-profits are also a popular event to serve and they are one of the only events that is able to get a temporary liquor license. I have experience in helping non-profits with events so I am able to assist with the license for those events.
What sets you apart from other Beverage Services?
We guarantee our products as well as deliver and pick up the same day as the event. Our bartenders are trained and insured and professional. We are locally owned and invested in the community. The experience and hands on owners has a big effect on our business. The owners Charlie and Barb are involved in everything with the business. From the estimate to getting the order to the event. We are all completely involved in the process of providing a client with beverage catering.
Even on the night of the event, if you are getting close to running out of something, our bar tender will call one of us and we will bring more of what you need.
How far in advance should people book your services?
We’ve never had a problem filling a client’s request, we always make it happen. The earlier you book the better though. We want to be able to plan everything and make sure we can order all that you need. From a special wine or a beer from a craft brewery. The farther in advance we know about your requests the more able we are to make it happen.
How do people know what they would like? How do they choose?
Sometimes people come to the store talk to us about options and purchase wines to taste before deciding. Even from long distance I work with clients, through email. We correspond about wines and beers they have been tasting and we then figure their estimate and e-mail the client back with a total.
Do you have a certain drink that is most popular?
I have brides that ask for suggestions or they email me recipes. We make whatever they want happen. We want to take the pressure off them. We’ve provided welcome drinks, signature drinks, and champagne toasts.
Do you create unique cocktails for weddings?
We have a Pinterest board to help brides decide on a signature drink if that is what they want and they are very popular.
How has your experience in the wedding industry helped you as a vendor?
We have a packet of information to describe us and what we do. We have created packages because sometimes people want to see what others have done or get ideas. That doesn’t mean you have to pick one though. The design your own package is our most popular.
We provide different specialty bars, such as a Michigan wine tasting table. This is typically done as a cocktail hour with 6 different wines of your choice, usually 3 reds, and 3 whites. We serve 6oz pours so your guests can sample the wines they want to try. We put little cards in front of the wine so they know what each one is like a flight. Our other specialty bar packages are a Champagne Bar, Bloody Mary Bar, and a Martini Bar.
When it comes to setting up bars we have portable draft systems with CO2. We have mixers and everything you need.
We also offer a Custom cigar package and portable humidors for receptions. It can be set it up in an outdoor space for the groom and groomsmen. The groom can come into our store Liquor Locker and choose which cigars he wants.
We can customize a bar to fit any budget and size wedding or event. Our estimates are itemized so that you are able to see every expense and make changes very easily.
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Visit Liquor Locker’s website for all of your even spirit needs.