A driv­ing force in cy­cling

Canadian Cycling Magazine - - SUDS & CYCLING - — Cheryl Madliger

Spon­sor­ing a lo­cal race or two might seem like a savvy mar­ket­ing strat­egy for a craft brew­ery, so might set­ting up shop on a bike path in Van­cou­ver, or invit­ing Velofix to your brew­ery on oc­ca­sion to draw in cy­clists for a beer and a quick bike re­pair. For Van­cou­ver-based Red Truck Beer, the con­nec­tion goes deeper than such events. “Bike ad­vo­cacy is part of our dna,” Brian Fong, di­rec­tor of mar­ket­ing at Red Truck, said. “We’re not giv­ing out bikes to ev­ery em­ployee on their an­niver­sary, but we re­ally want it to be part of the fab­ric of our brew­ery and to be part of the larger cy­cling com­mu­nity.”

Red Truck might sound fa­mil­iar even to those who do not con­sider them­selves craft-beer afi­ciona­dos. The brew­ery also lends its moniker to – and owns a small part of – one of Canada’s long­est-stand­ing am­a­teur cy­cling teams, Trek Red Truck Rac­ing. The con­nec­tions to cy­cling largely stem from the owner, Mark James, a cy­clist him­self who is also a team di­rec­tor for Trek Red Truck. “The sup­port pre­dates the brew­ery,” Fong said, adding that James’s son first raced for the team 15 years ago. “Be­cause of the owner’s long-stand­ing part­ner­ships and re­la­tion­ships with cy­cling, I think it was a nat­u­ral fit with cy­cling and Red Truck.”

The brew­ery ap­peals to cy­clists of all types, from the recre­ational to the com­pet­i­tive, the roadie to the trail junkie. Lo­cal clubs of­ten take off from or fin­ish their rides at the brew­ery. It’s on the Cen­tral Val­ley Green­way, a 24-km recre­ational trail and has a res­tau­rant where cy­clists can en­joy a post-ride beer and diner-style food. Three years ago, Red Truck be­came the beer spon­sor for the rbc Gran­fondo Whistler, and have since started work­ing with the Pros­pera Val­ley Gran Fondo and the Ride to Con­quer Can­cer. This year, the brew­ery is branch­ing out from road events and has be­come in­volved with the BC Bike Race, the seven-day moun­tain bik­ing stage race.

“We like to con­sider our­selves a bi­cy­cle-friendly busi­ness and we want to build bi­cy­cling into our cul­ture,” Fong said. “We’re just try­ing to build a place where it’s a lit­tle more com­mu­nity-ori­ented, where cy­cling plays an es­sen­tial role in mak­ing a safer, hap­pier, more sus­tain­able place to work, and drink and live.” ( redtruck­beer.com)

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