1109
6 min 53 sec

Bartender Brews Up Brewpub Tour Biz

After being asked for brewery recommendations over and over, this bartender turns an old school bus into a Maine attraction for beer drinkers.
Beer Service

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What It's About

Hop on board this Brewpub tour bus ... it's on a roll!

Business Model
Service
Skills Required
Organization & Marketing
Complexity
Low
Profit Potential
Medium

Words of Wisdom

Whether you're starting your business or in the process of growing it, don't be afraid to seek out help. Here's Zach; "If I could do anything differently I would have hired a branding agency, lawyer and accountant from the start."

Fun Fact

In English pubs, ale is ordered by pints and quarts… So in old England , when customers got unruly, the bartender would yell at them ‘Mind your pints and quarts, and settle down.’It’s where we get the phrase ‘mind your P’s and Q’s’

Notes from Chris

Episode 1109

If enough people ask you the same question, it might be a sign from the universe that you’ve found your moneymaking idea. That's what happened to Zach Poole while working at a pub in Portland, Maine. Customers kept asking him what breweries they should visit—and after answering the question dozens of times, something clicked. There should be a tour for these people.

That was when the idea for Zach's side hustle, the Maine Brew Bus, was born. These tours take guests around some of the best breweries in Portland, with Zach serving as both tour guide and designated driver.

Let’s look under the hood.

The Brew Bus tours are all-inclusive, with a flat fee that varies depending on the tour, but is typically around $70. The fee covers transport, the guide, and tastings at each brewery the bus visits. Depending on the tour, the bus will stop at three to five breweries, distilleries, and wineries. This takes place over the course of half a day, and some tours include activities like attending local hockey games.

By 2016, the Maine Brew Bus had ten staff members, and had taken more than 5,000 people on their tours.

As the business grew, the Portland brewery scene grew as well. That meant more beer to go around, and more bus tours popping up in Portland. But for Zach, it was important to never see these other tours as competitors that he needed to tear down. He was glad to see the idea grow in popularity, and went out of his way to help fellow operators.

This genorous attitude has only further increased his reputation on the Maine beer scene. In March of 2017, the Maine Brew Bus acquired Maine Beer Tours, a similar tour business that doesn't use buses. Some of their tours are on foot, on bikes, or even by boat. This allowed Zach to offer a whole new set of tours without setting them all up himself.

By 2019, the empire had grown from one bus to three, with thirteen drivers and guides, and raked in $600,000 in sales. Zach now runs the Maine Brew Bus full-time, but on a flexible schedule, which allows him to spend more time with his family.

As for what's next? Well, marijuana is now legal in the state, so the Maine Cannabus is one idea...

 
  MENTIONED IN THIS EPISODE:

  • Maine Brew Bus: Learn more about Zach and the Maine Brew Bus tours at his website.

SEE ALSO:

Inspiration is good; inspiration combined with action is better. Now get back to work!

Yours in the revolution,

cg-sig-newsletter


Download 2019 episodes: JAN | FEB | MAR | APR | MAY | JUN | JUL | AUG | SEP | OCT | NOV | DEC

Download 2018 episodes: JAN | FEB | MAR | APR | MAY | JUN | JUL | AUG | SEP | OCT | NOV | DEC

Download 2017 episodes: JAN | FEB | MAR | APR | MAY | JUN | JUL | AUG | SEP | OCT | NOV | DEC

Resources

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Quote of the Day
"The lime green color of the bus was probably one of the best business decisions I made without knowing how important it was."
—Zach Poole #SideHustleSchool

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To infinity and beyond,

Chris Guillebeau