It would seem that the Louisville area brewery scene has really come of age when entrepreneurs decide that offering bus tours of the breweries can be a going business. That time is now.
Lou’s Brew Bus is now providing public and private tasting tours of local craft beer makers. The new business coincides with Mayor Greg Fischer’s efforts to build a new tourism concept around area breweries.
Mike Stokes, who has run similar beer makers’ tours in Cincinnati for two years, is now operating Lou’s Brew Bus, with two routes that will take up to 35 guests on five-hour trips between four breweries. The Ale Trail visits Against the Grain, Goodwood, Great Flood and Flat 12. The Derby Town Tour goes to Apocalypse, Gordon Biersch, BBC St. Matthew’s, and Goodwood.
Guests will get a behind-the-scenes looks at the brewing process and tips on how to taste different beers, and also taste samples of the brewmaster’s art at each stop. Stokes is partnering with Uber and the Hyatt Regency to offer discounts for customers who need rides home or a hotel near the drop-off site.
The tour begins at 11:40 a.m. Saturdays, starting at Gordon Biersch, 400 S. 4th St. The cost is $50 per person, $30 for designated drivers. For more information, go to lousbrewbus.com.
A second brewery tour operator, Derby City Brew Bus, is planning to debut Friday, Nov. 13. This new tour, the brainchild of Keith Joy, will start with a street bonfire in front of the Falls City brewery on 10th Street. Joy said the event, which will run 5-9 p.m., will include several breweries and food trucks.
Joy is already conducting private, by-appointment tours; the first public Derby City brewery tour will start on Nov. 14 at 2 p.m., with stops at Falls City, Akasha and Goodwood. Guests will tour the breweries, talk with the brewers, see how the beer is made, and have their questions about the beer making process answered. Cost is $40, or $25 for designated drivers. Pick up and drop off is at Fourth Street Live! in front of the Sports and Social Club.
Joy hopes to have tours every weekend, including Fridays at 6:30 p.m., Saturdays at 2 p.m., and Sundays at 2:30 p.m. Brewery stops will always be rotating, much like with the Lou’s Brew Bus tours. Go to derbycitybrewbus.com or email firstname.lastname@example.org.