BrewHop Trolley celebrated five years giving a lift to beer-lovers over Memorial Day Weekend. The trolley service has expanded its services over the years while staying true to its mission: highlighting the breweries and distilleries of Longmont.
BrewHop owner David Lewis, a second-generation Longmont resident, is as big a fan of his hometown as he is of a good beer. He wanted to create a unique experience in Longmont while providing safe transportation for locals and visitors sampling from one of the city’s many establishments.
While looking for vehicles, he found a trolley that was once used at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. The trolly sports a warm wooden interior, with matching benches. It had the kind of novelty that he was looking for. Now the vehicle is painted forest green with the “BrewHop” painted on the sign.
Before launching Lewis and his wife Radha Lewis, spoke with brewery owners, Longmont Downtown Development Authority and Visit Longmont. All were supportive of how the business would support tourism, Lewis said.
”This is a unique opportunity to highlight what we have going on in Longmont,” Lewis said. “So you get people coming from all over the country and we've had people from all over the world come to Longmont, when they may not have ever heard of us.”
BrewHop started as a hop-on-hop-off service, taking guests to different stops while allowing an hour to get a drink. Currently there are 12 stops including breweries, one cidery and two distilleries. But as the trolley service grew in popularity, customers began booking private charters for weddings, parties and other events.
The demand grew high enough that BrewHop bought two more trolleys and hired drivers. BrewHop expanded to taking passengers from Longmont to events including the Denver St. Patrick’s Day Parade, the Great American Beer Festival and Christmas light tours. During football season, BrewHop transports customers to Broncos games and hosts a “trolley-gate” on the westside of Ball Arena.
“We try to provide different fun things to make memories for people,” Lewis said. “And it's just really great to be part of that community here, promoting and supporting businesses over the past five years.”
Two out of the three trolleys can drive on the highway, and BrewHop can drive anywhere between Denver and Fort Collins. While focused on Longmont, the company encourages passengers to check out nearby brewery scenes and offers tours that transports passengers to other cities.
The COVID pandemic temporarily eliminated the hop-on-hop-off element of BrewHop’s business. Though Longmont is operating under Level Clear, BrewHop is still only offering private charters until August. Lewis said that they aren’t doing the loop in part because the company’s books are full of private charters for several months, but to also let the breweries and distilleries readjust to normal capacities.
Lewis is proud of the success BrewHop has found over the last five years, including recognition from the Longmont Area Chamber of Commerce for three awards — Rookie Business of the Year in 2017, Best Micro Business in 2018 and Emerging Business of the Year in 2019. He said that his wife and small but mighty team of four other people have shaped the business.
“The trust level is really great in everyone that we have and that's what really propelled us,” Lewis said. “I guess in a sense that let us be who we are, is our staff.”
When envisioning what the next five years will look like for BrewHop, Lewis hopes to do more events and weddings and add a few more trolleys to the fleet so he can accommodate larger parties. The largest trolley can fit 30 passengers.
Lewis looks forward to resuming the hop-on loop. One of his favorite parts about driving the trolley is ringing the bell in response to passerbys waving. Sometimes he’ll stop so they can check out the vehicle.
He has considered expanding BrewHop to other cities in the future, but for the time he wants to focus on Longmont. For Lewis, the key factor to BrewHop’s growth since it started driving through the city is his roots in his hometown.
Private charters and trolleys for events and weddings can be booked through BrewHop Trolley’s website or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.