Just over a year ago I was able to sit down with Michelle Stanish, one of the founders and owners of CT Beer Tours to learn more about her beer tour company that she was starting. Fast forward a year and now CT Beer Tours has been open for a year. I wanted to check in with Michelle and the CT Brew Tours crew to see what it has been like to be operating a brewery tour company. What we learned was that starting CT Beer Tours has been a fun journey but not without its ups and down. We also learned that CT Brew Tours will be starting tours in Massachusetts soon and also what beers would be in Michelle’s dream six pack.
Michelle we originally talked about a year ago when you were getting ready to start CT Beer Tours. Now that you have been open for a year, how has the first year of running CT beer tours been going?
Our first year in business has been filled with learning curves and we've earned a few bumps and bruises along the way. Overall the breweries are great and support our cause to bring people to their facilities and giving them an experience that you can't normally get walking in the door off the street. Private tours utilizing our 13-passenger Ford Transit with a driver and guide is our biggest selling feature.
What is the best part of owning and operating CT Brew Tours?
We started Connecticut Beer Tours to provide entertaining trips for people to enjoy. This still remains the best part of our business. Getting to take a group of people,
Are the tours set tours or can riders pick what brewery's that they want to visit?
Both. We have public tours that are listed on our website throughout the year, where people can purchase individual tickets to hop on. Most people don't realize that even though we have designated pick-up spots, we are willing to create custom pick-ups as well. You just have to ask. Custom tours are available for anyone who wants to do a private tour. These are typical for bachelor/ettes, company outings, or trips with friends. We do require a minimum of 8 people and we will customize the trip entirely to their liking including but not limited to samples, tours, and food.
Michelle, you recently announced that you will be expanding CT Brew Tours to Massachusetts. Can you tell us more about your expansion to MA and what breweries you will be visiting?
Jack's Abbey reached out earlier in the year to chat about doing some cross promotion in Connecticut. As we began talking they mentioned how the tourism in that part of the state (Framingham, MA) had been wanting a beer tour to start up in the area. We immediately jumped on the opportunity to meet with the breweries in the area to setup tours in that area. It's a way for those in Connecticut to get safe transportation and visit four breweries which include Wormtown Brewing, Exhibit A, Cold Harbor and Jack's Abbey.
Right now your expansion to MA is limited to the Worcester and Framingham area. Do you plan to expand your tours in Massachusetts?
The difficulty with this business is that there is no one major tourist area in CT. We don't want to spread ourselves too thin by having a bunch of tours offered at a limited amount of dates throughout the year, but we also don't want to limit ourselves as well. This is where the first year learning curve comes into play. Getting our company name out there more, educating people what we do, and analyzing our trip data the best is critical in helping us make the best decisions to move forward.
Michelle if you could have a dream six pack from beers only from brewery's that CT Beer Tours visits, what six beers would be in your dream six pack?Great question! My taste for beer ranges based on the season, but with that being said I would have to go with: Minnie Winnie by Cold Creek Brewing; Two Juicy by Two Roads Brewing; Ice Cream Man by Back East Brewing, Imperial Stout Trooper by NEBCO; Beliqique du Noire by Overshores; and Thimble Island Vanilla Coffee Stout.
If you could expand CT beer tours to any state what state would you pick and why?
When we formed Connecticut Beer Tours we spoke about being able to offer international and foreign trips. Taking Connecticut residence and being able to bring them to California, Colorado, or Europe and Germany and provide a beer touring experience beyond state lines. It is an idea that is still not forgotten and still may come to fruition one day. Stay tuned...