The craft beer scene is expanding at a rapid rate over the last 10 years. With the industry growing at a rapid rate, industries that support the craft beer industry are also growing at a fast rate. One of the areas that are growing is the craft beer tour industry. Tour companies showcasing the areas craft beer scenes are popping up in major cities all over the country. We love the idea of beer tours. I mean can you think of a better way to visit breweries then have someone else transport you around and give you information about the breweries? We can’t! At Journey to Beer Store we thought it would be great to learn more about these beer tour companies. We recently sat down with Scott Coggins owner of Charlotte Brew Cruise to learn more about his company and to see what would be in his dream six pack.
I wish that I could say that Brews Cruise was my idea from the beginning, but I can’t. Brews Cruise is a network of brewery tour operators around the country that spotlight the craft beer industry in their respective cities. We’re all independently owned and operated, but we’re all tied together by the Brews Cruise network.
Personally, I’ve always worked in tourism. Over the years I’ve given tours by foot, bus, van, bicycle, segway, horse-drawn carriage and helicopter. I’ve covered topics ranging from Native American history to wildlife and everything in between. While doing all of that I managed to gain a strong appreciation for craft beer and the culture surrounding it. When I heard about Brews Cruise and looked around at Charlotte’s burgeoning beer industry it seemed like a great fit. It was an opportunity to combine what I love with what I do. I contacted the founder of Brews Cruise and we got to work bringing it to the Queen City.
That might be the most frequent question we get when people call or email us! The answer is no...we conduct tours by passenger van or bus. Think “cruise” in the sense of “cruisin’ around town.”
We offer both public and private tours. Our public tours are capped at a maximum of 14 people and are open for individuals, couples and groups to join. It’s a great opportunity for beer lovers to make some new drinking buddies!
We also do a ton of private tours for all kinds of occasions. We’ve had birthday parties, bachelor/ette parties, corporate events, holiday parties, retirement parties....we’ve even done a post-bar mitzvah tour for all the adults who planned/set up/cleaned up the bar mitzvah. Apparently it was a long stressful day and they needed a fun way to unwind afterwards!
Scott since starting Charlotte Brew Cruise in other major cities, can you tell us where else people can find a Brew Cruise? Secondly, will you be bringing a Brew Cruise to the Boston/ New England Area?
The entire Brews Cruise family would love to see it spread to New England! If you know of anyone interested in owning a Brews Cruise operation have them contact Mark Lyons (our founder/licensor) at firstname.lastname@example.org He’d be more than happy to provide more information regarding licensing.
We’ve got great relationships with the breweries in Charlotte. Our primary goal is to support the industry as a whole. One of the ways we do that is by ensuring that we aren’t inundating their taprooms at inconvenient times. We want to be a benefit to these guys...not a burden. We might visit Birdsong Brewing Co., Sycamore Brewing Co. and Olde Mecklenburg Brewery on one tour, then visit The Unknown Brewing Co., Heist Brewery and Lenny Boy Brewing Co. on the next. It depends on their staffing availabilities, event schedules, etc. Each week, we create itineraries that result in the best experience for our tour guests as well as the brewery staffs.
Scott if you could have a dream six pack of beer from the breweries that your Charlotte Brew Cruise visits what six beers would be in your dream six pack?
This is a tough question. There’s a lot of really good beer around here. I’d want some variety for sure. A beer in there for all occasions. My answer might be different tomorrow, but right this moment I’d say...
- Hop Drop ‘n’ Roll (NoDa Brewing Co.) - It didn’t win gold at the World Beer Cup for nothing.
- Doin’ Thyme Wit (Birdsong Brewing Co.) - It’s such a good, unique summer seasonal.
- Southern Hospitali-tea (The Unknown Brewing Co.) - I’m a Southern boy to the core. A sweet tea flavored amber ale on the front porch puts me in a happy place.
- Copper (Olde Mecklenburg Brewery) - You can drink it in any situation. Always a solid choice.
- Jalapeño Pale Ale (Birdsong Brewing Co.) - Best peppered beer I’ve had. All the flavor and aroma, but none of the burn. So good with Mexican food.
- Jordy’s Peanut Butter Porter (Sycamore Brewing Co.) - Have to include a good porter for those cold, rainy nights in the winter.
Since we are talking about cruises what are your thoughts on Carnival Cruise Lines putting a brewery on a cruise ship?
I can drink fresh craft beer while sailing to a warm, tropical location? If the beer is good I see zero problem with this.