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2018 Year in Review – Tour Information

Business of BeerDon Littlefield

Tour-Composition

The Maine Brew Bus conducted hundreds of different tours during 2018. Let’s see just how far we went and where we visited during the year.

Note: This is the second in a series looking back at our tour operations during 2018. Click here to read the first post about Guest Composition

One of the first statistics that stands out is that our three buses traveled 17,883 miles Driving You to Drink Local last year.

Two buses are parked at Urban Farm Fermentory in Portland.

That’s over 6 trips back and forth across the United States from Maine to California…or almost 3/4 of the way around the Earth at the Equator.

Of the 673 individual tours that were conducted last year. 528 of them (78.5%) were public itineraries. These are regularly scheduled offerings that are found throughout the year on our public website calendar.

That means that 145 of our itineraries (21.5%) were group tours. These come in a few different forms; private, corporate, and industry tours.

A private tour is an itinerary that is often booked for a Birthday Party, Anniversary Party, Family Reunion, Retirement Celebration, Bachelor/ette Parties, Friends Get-Together, Neighborhood Outing, Class Reunion, and for more reasons.

A large corporate group listens to host Krister Rollins at Geary Brewing Company in Portland.

A corporate tour is a team outing arranged by a company for activities such as a Staff Appreciation, Holiday Staff Party, Goal Incentive Party, End-of-Project Gathering, Client Appreciation, Sales Meeting Outing, Retirement Party, and more.

And an industry tour is a staff outing designed for our hardworking friends at breweries, wineries, distilleries, restaurants, bars, and hotels.

Breweries found within a 25-mile radius of Portland. Source: https://www.brewerydb.com

For all of our tours, our focus area is really within a 25-mile radius of Portland. During our Summer/Fall schedule last year we were visiting 35 different partners with tours every week.

But since we want to visit as many producers as possible, we actually visited a total of 44 different partners last year. These more remote stops often happen as part of our Birds on Tap – Roadtrip! series. That also means that some of our partners are visited only once during the year.

Visiting with David Carlson at Marshall Wharf Brewing Company in Belfast, Maine.

The furthest that we traveled to visit a partner last year? On an industry tour with UK Brewers in the fall, we stopped by Marshall Wharf Brewing Company in Belfast – 95 miles away from Portland. 

Looking at all of our partners during the year, each of them saw an average of 396 guests during the year. But if we look at just the 35 partners that we work most closely with during the year, each of them saw nearly 500 guests by way of the bright green bus.

The first public tour at Lone Pine was on The Maine Brew Bus. April 2016.

What are the places that are visited the most often? Lone Pine Brewing Company in Portland saw 1,759 guests last year, followed by Bunker Brewing (1,254 guests), and Rising Tide Brewing (1,249 guests).

Most tours feature three different stops at partner producers. Some skills-based tours only feature two stops.

These itineraries are mostly all beer breweries, but we often change it up and stop by other producers of craft alcohol in our area.

We look at Guest Opportunities as all of the locations visited by an individual during their particular tour itinerary.

73% of our partners visited last year are breweries that produce exclusively beer.

But, as mentioned before we visit many other producers that create different types of craft alcohol. Distilleries make up 14% of our partners and wineries are 8%. There are two partners of ours that produce more than one type of craft alcohol (Urban Farm Fermentory and Root Wild Kombucha), they make up 5% of our overall places that were visited last year.

Now you know a little bit more about the places we went last year.

Next up in the series: a recap of revenue generated for our partners as a result of our tour visits.


Don Littlefield is the General Manager of Brew Bus Tours. In a previous career, he worked as an overnight data supervisor for UPS. He last enjoyed an Allagash White in celebration of #FlagshipFebruary. Twitter @BeerinME