Food Service & Agriculture, Small Business & Startups, and Travel & Tourism

Startup maps brewery shuttle

August 29, 2014
| By Pat Evans |
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Startup maps brewery shuttle
Beer City Runner runs a shuttle bus, “Hoptimus Prime,” between six Grand Rapids breweries and a bar. Photo via fb.com

Grand Rapids beer has created another business.

Beer shuttle

Chris Myers, an electrician at Progressive Surface, has decided to start Beer City Runner, a weekend job running a shuttle bus between six of the city’s breweries and a bar.

Myers said he was driven to create the service by a combination of tours being pricey and hurried for a casual evening, limited parking and the inherit dangers of driving after a couple of brews.

“This way, customers can enjoy hopping from brewery to brewery without worrying about a whole lot,” Myers said. “It will be an actual shuttle running from brewery to brewery, on a set route all night long.”

The shuttle is intended to give out-of-town visitors and casual brewery-goers a safer and cheaper alternative to driving from location to location.

Myers bought a 14-seat bus from a church in Greenville, with low mileage on a new motor. Following the acquisition, Myers ran a Facebook contest to name the bus, and the winner won two passes on the bus, now called “Hoptimus Prime.”

Myers said he needed a chauffeur license and Certificate of Authority from MDOT to run commercially.

The route

The shuttle's route is in place, and the service is scheduled to launch on Sept. 5, according to its Facebook page.

Myers will run 5 p.m.-1 a.m. on Friday and 12 p.m.-1 a.m. on Saturday, in a circuit between Founders Brewing Co., Mitten Brewing Co., Elk Brewing Co., Harmony Brewing Co., Brewery Vivant, Grand Rapids Brewing Co. and HopCat. Sunday will be available for reserved tours.

“Those breweries are great places to go, and they make the most economical sense,” Myers said. "The route is all within a 10-mile radius, which keeps the total route time, including pickups and drop-offs, to an hour.”

Myers contacted each of the seven destinations on the circuit and said they’re all on board and excited to see if the shuttle is a success.

Plans

The driving will be done by Myers for the first month or so. He hopes to hire a driver soon to help with some of the shifts.

If Beer City Runner works well, Myers said he’ll look into adding more vehicles and drivers to the fleet and possibly alternate routes.

“Breweries are popping up everywhere,” Myers said. “Absolutely, I think there is a demand for this. It is a cheap, efficient way for people to get around to their favorite spots.”

Cost

Riders can ride all night with an $8 pass, which can be purchased only at beercityrunner.com. Once a rider is on the bus with the ticket, they’ll be given a wristband for an entire night of rides.

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