BREWVANA: A new Portland Beer Tour Company


My wife and I met Ashley Salvitti while visiting Hopworks Urban Brewery last Friday.  When I learned Ashley is launching BREWVANA, a new Portland brewery bus tour company, I jumped at the chance to interview her.


Tell me about BREWVANA.

Ashley Salvitti:  BREWVANA's goal is to support Oregon beer by providing a brewery tour experience that is both inspiring to the tour participants, as well as the breweries.  We work with brewers to showcase their beers and breweries.  Tour participants will be blown away by the treatment they get on our tour.  From the beginning to end, there will be a constant flux of places to see, people to talk to, samples to taste, and beer swag that they will leave with.  My bus is so freakin’ cool.  People are going to love it!


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.    


Sporting a pretzel necklace at a beer fest.
Tell me about yourself.

AS:  I'm 27 years old, I love beer, my middle name is Rose, and I love hummus.   I moved here from North Carolina in ‘07.  I’m originally from upstate NY and CT, but spent my school years in NC.  After graduating with a degree in Art, I planned to go to grad school for Art Therapy. I wasn't ready to go back to school yet, nor did I want to get married and make babies, so I moved to the opposite end of the country just to see how life would treat me there…


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.


How did you get into craft beer?

Ashley enjoying beer with Papa Sal.
AS:  I blame my Dad for spoiling my taste buds at an early age. I was already drinking the Dogfish Head out of our fridge when Papa Sal (my dad), urged me to apply for a server position at the local brewery.  I was a college student and didn't anticipate the brewing industry to be my career, but Liberty Steakhouse and Brewery became my life for the next 5 years.  My coworkers and our regulars became my friends and family.  I served beer, and loved it.  I became very familiar with the brewing process, other local breweries, and discovered that the pool of craft beer is vast and I wanted to taste more of it!

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 brewvana@gmail.com.


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Brutus and BoQ guarding the beer bus.

7 comments:

  1. so cool! excited to take a ride!

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  2. Sounds incredible!!!!!
    Can't wait.

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  3. Congrats ash- thats awesome! love how you're using a short bus too ;) (JSaboNY)

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  4. Amazing!! You can count on us to spread the word to everyone we know. Our love and best wishes to you. Papa & GG

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  5. Awesome! List of things to do in Portland = done.

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  6. Sweet Googley Moogley! Ashley is a business owner! Well you know who can knock em back better then just about anyone so I am looking forward to your Pops bringing me out there for Beer and Sausage!!!! Best of luck
    Tony

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