Left Hand Valley Courier - All Local, All The Time

By Aurelia Pollard
Editorial@lhvc.com 

Brewhop Trolley connects community to breweries

 

August 18, 2016

Photo courtesy of Brewhop Trolley Owners David and Radha Lewis of Brewhop Trolley hope to expand their Longmont business to include multiple trolleys throughout the Front Range.

The Front Range has become a hub for local breweries, microbreweries and brewpubs, drawing many visitors and beer enthusiasts to Boulder County. One local couple wanted to get into the industry as well and started Brewhop Trolley, offering a unique way to tour breweries in Longmont.

Owner David Lewis, along with his wife Radha Lewis, wanted to give private tours to breweries in Longmont; and after searching for the right vehicle they settled on a vintage trolley. After receiving the trolley in March and giving it a fresh coat of paint, they officially opened for business on Memorial Day weekend.

Lewis was working in the oil and gas industry for the past year-and-a-half, and before that was doing over the phone collections for 15 years, but getting laid off in May was “the best thing that could have happened.”

“It allowed me to be able to take over the social media aspect, meet people and do interviews,” Lewis explained. “I’m basically the social butterfly and Radha is the behind-the-scenes [person].”

Lewis, who has her own massage therapy business in Longmont for the past 14 years, knew how to get the business up and running from her own experience. “I helped out, but she did a lot of the business stuff and building the business,” Lewis stated.

A Longmont native, she wanted to bring another tourist attraction to the city and cash in on the people visiting Longmont throughout the year. He thought marrying the beer scene and tourism was the perfect fit.

“Longmont is kind of like a gateway to the mountains,” Lewis said. “But we’re trying to get people to stay here for a day, and then go up and do the mountain thing.”

Brewhop Trolley markets itself as a hop on/hop off brewery tour. It offers day tickets for $15 and weekend tickets for $25, which can be purchased online or on the trolley, for people to visit any of the nine breweries it stops at. The trolley makes loops throughout the day, returning about every hour to each stop.

“It really gives people a great choice in what to do in the breweries around town,” Lewis said.

The tours, which are on Saturdays and Sundays from 12-9 p.m., start the loop at 300 Suns Brewing, and stop at Oskar Blues Brewery, Left Hand Brewing Company, Wibby Brewing, Pump House Brewery, Skeye Brewing, Shoes & Brews, Longs Peak Taphouse and Groben Bart Brewery as well.

“If there’s live music, and you’re enjoying the atmosphere and you don’t want to leave, you can stay another hour and I’ll be back later,” Lewis said. “You don’t have to get back on the trolley to go to the next brewery.”

Since opening in May, Lewis said that although they received good responses from people in the beginning, busy summer schedules have kept customers from the tour.

“Leading up to it, everyone was so excited about the idea of a trolley coming into town and the brewery tours,” he said. “We knew when we opened up, that Memorial Day through July 4th people have those six weeks booked solid. So it’s taken awhile for all those people in the beginning to now trickle in with friends and family.”

Lewis also has hope for the fall and winter months when there won’t be as much competition with summer concerts, festivals and vacation plans. “People have told us that they think we’ll do good in the winter time, because we won’t be forced to fight with other things going on during the weekends.”

In addition to its weekend tours in Longmont, Brewhop Trolley, which holds up to 35 people including standing room, can be chartered for private events such as weddings, bachelor and bachelorette parties, corporate events and birthday parties.

“We’re excited about what’s coming,” Lewis said. “Hopefully in the next year sometime we would like to invest in a second trolley. That would allow us to be able to capture more weddings, beerfests, concerts and charters that we can’t do with only one trolley.”

They also want to promote safety as much as possible, and encourage people to take alternate rides home if they’ve been drinking. “We promote zTrip and Uber as much as possible to people, or schedule someone to pick [them] up. We want to make sure we’re as safe as possible.”

One of Lewis’ main goals for his business is to help support the local breweries in Longmont that people might not know about, while offering a fun way to tour them. “I think that the trolley itself is a unique vehicle that attracts people to it,” he said. “We want to promote the local breweries in town—the ones that don’t get hit as often. It just gives people an opportunity to see what the craft brewers are doing in Longmont.”

Lewis has felt the support from the town and breweries, who are cheering them on and ready to help however they can.

“There are so many people who are behind us in the community right now, and who think this is a great idea, a unique idea, and something they can see succeed,” he said. “They’re going to do whatever they need to to help us.”

For more information on Brewhop Trolley, or to purchase a ticket, visit Brewhoptrolley.com.

 

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