How did you get the idea to start BREWVANA?
AS: It came after a family vacation to Puerto Rico. We spent SO much time deciding what to do. We wasted time and money on things that seemed like a good idea, but we were sadly disappointed with. In a new place, you never know what you're going to get when you sign up for it.
Our favorite activity was touring and hanging out at the Bacardi factory. The last night we were there, our server (who gave private tours on the side), offered to take us to all of her favorite places. It would have been so nice to have a local friend show us around. Locals know the real deal!
Her job as private tour guide reminded me of what I do when my friends and family visit Portland. I thought about how much I love showing people around realized that I'm really good at it. I decided that I wanted to be the local friend in Portland for everyone!
Who are your target customers?
AS: Anyone who loves beer will love BREWVANA Brewery Tours! There will be many tour options, depending on your interests. We will have 4 different weekly tours, one Connoisseur Tour each month, plus 4 seasonal tours each year!
The Intro to Portland Beer Tour is for tourists or people who don't know everything about beer tasting and the brewing process. This tour may include food, as well as information about the history of beer in Portland and how the beer industry became so prominent in the NW.
There will also be shorter tours, that don't include food, for the people who live in town that would rather just drink. The Underground Tour will feature smaller breweries in a more intimate setting. Our Connoisseur Tour will be led by a different Portland brewer each month giving them a chance to present their beer, in addition to their local favorites. It will cater to the local beer SNOBs and require a more advanced brewing knowledge and experience.
BYOT (Build Your Own Tours) will also be available for private parties between 6 and 14 people. You tell me what you want, and I will make it happen. I will be your own personal, private tour guide! From amateur imbiber to ceravisaphile--there will be something for everyone!
Portland has other beer bus tour operators. How will you be unique?
AS: BREWVANA promises a state of mind to its participants:
brew.va.na (broo-vAH-nAH) noun 1. the euphoric state of awareness, appreciation and love for Portland's finest craft beer.
You will be blown away by a tour on my bus. It is not just a tour of breweries, it's an experience. What's unique about BREWVANA is that our goal is to achieve perfect peace with the people in a combined effort to support and promote the local craft beer that we LOVE.
And… how did it treat you?
AS: I fell in love with Portland. It's the perfect city for me and I never want to leave. It’s hard to be so far away from family, but they visit frequently. In my opinion, Portland’s only is the overabundance of rain and lack of sun. I’d appreciate a little more sunshine in my life. To compensate, I make it a priority to travel in order to receive sufficient amounts of vitamin D.
I began working at Hopworks since we opened in March 2008. I love HUB, and am proud to work for a brewery that has such amazing organic beer.
What are your favorite beers and styles?
AS: I like my beer like my coffee--strong but smooth. My favorite is the HUB DOA (Deluxe Organic Ale). It's strong like a bull and sweet like your Mama. It’s the best. I also love Laurelwood's Workhorse IPA, coffee stouts, and porters. On a warm day, you might find me outdoors drinking a light and fruitfully refreshing beverage--possibly a Kolsh or a light Belgian-style beer. I have just started to appreciate sour beers after a visit to Cascade Barrel House.
When will you begin your service and how can I learn more?
AS: Our first Public Tour will be April 1, 2011. I’m in the process of planning and customizing tours with breweries now.
This Saturday (2/19), the Oregon Brewers Guild is hosting Zwickelmania—a state-wide brewery tour event. I will be driving my bus in N and NE Portland from 11-4. This is your chance to ride my bus for FREE!!
I wish Ashley the best of luck in her new endeavor and can’t wait to take one of her tours!
For more information about BREWVANA, please visit www.experiencebrewvana.com or contact Ashley directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.