A new local business is raising the bar for party planners, who can now outsource the mental and physical labor of planning and serving drinks at their next wedding, party or other event.
The Dive Mobile Bar Co. is one of the area’s first mobile bartending services, a relatively recent offshoot of the catering industry that brings the bar to clients, both literally and figuratively.
With a combined 25 years of bartending experience, owners Diane Ferrara and Michael Campanelli officially launched the venture in May. Ferrara first learned of mobile bartending services in her previous work organizing networking events for professional women in New Jersey. When the couple moved to Wilmington earlier this year, she knew she wanted to try her hand at the concept.
The first step was securing the bar itself, a custom-fabricated, 6-foot-long mobile bar that can fold down for easy transportation and set-up. This allows the business to offer services in a variety of contexts compared to a trailer, a common choice for other mobile bar operations.
“We wanted to be able to cater to everything and have the bar set up anywhere that the client could picture it,” Ferrara said. The bar was delivered in April, allowing the company to debut its services the following month.
Generally speaking, mobile bar companies do not have liquor licenses, which are often contingent upon a business having a brick-and-mortar location; instead, they are contracted to serve alcohol that clients provide. Because of this, The Dive was relatively quick to launch once Ferrara and Campanelli secured the permits and insurance necessary to serve alcohol at events.
“We don’t actually sell the alcohol, so we don’t need the liquor license,” Ferrara said.
Although the company does not sell alcohol or include it in its bartending packages, it can help facilitate the process for clients to acquire it. The process starts with an initial consultation, where the business learns more about the event and the kinds of drinks guests prefer. Ferrara and Campanelli use this information to devise a customized menu, which is refined through a collaborative review process with the client. Once the menu is finalized, The Dive can call the local ABC store and place an order for clients to pick up. If only beer and wine are being served, The Dive can call a local store and arrange delivery to the client’s home.
Ferrara generally recommends a client begin booking the service at least two months in advance for parties under 75 people, which allows enough time for both parties to perfect the plan before the big day arrives.
All packages come with the mobile bar set-up, beer and wine service, fruit-infused water, ice and serving ware like cups and napkins. For clients purchasing a package that involves cocktails, The Dive designs drinks using homemade syrups and freshly squeezed juices to suit a client’s preferences. While the business tries to keep cocktails simple enough to ensure quick and efficient service during busy events, Ferrara also aims to craft each drink with layers of flavors that present a fun experience for guests.
“I love to make a classic cocktail and put my own little spin on it, flavor-wise, to make it a little bit more interesting. So when you’re having the drink, there’s a whole bunch of different punches of flavor that will come out,” Ferrara said.
Craft cocktails are a popular choice among clients so far, Ferrara noted, as are stations where guests can garnish a Bloody Mary, spike a pour of bubbly wine with a selection of juices for a personalized mimosa, or craft their own mocktail.
With just a few months of service under its belt, The Dive is already working on expanding its repertoire of services to include a frozen drink cart and a tap trailer for draft beers.
For more information about The Dive’s mobile bartending services, visit thedivebarco.com