2nd tour firm cov­ers craft al­co­hol

They stress process, not party, in mak­ing rounds at Rich­mond brew­eries

Richmond Times-Dispatch Weekend - - Business - BY JOHN REID BLACK­WELL Rich­mond Times-Dis­patch

A new com­peti­tor has en­tered the tour mar­ket that has sprouted along­side the Rich­mond area’s craft bev­er­age in­dus­try.

Drink Rich­mond, a tour provider founded in Wil­liams­burg, started of­fer­ing tours in Rich­mond in early Septem­ber.

“We think we are hit­ting a unique mar­ket of peo­ple who want to go out for cor­po­rate events, fam­ily re­unions, things like that — it is a fun out­ing,” said Adam Theis, who co-founded the busi­ness with Lance Zaal. They started a sim­i­lar tour ser­vice, Drink Wil­liams­burg, in 2016.

“We want to cover all dif­fer­ent as­pects of craft al­co­hol,” Theis said. “We want to in­clude mead­eries, dis­til­leries, cideries and brew­eries. We feel like we can cater to a larger group of peo­ple that way.”

The com­pany is of­fer­ing 1 p.m. tours daily, as well as 5:30 p.m. tours Tues­days through Satur­days. It has a 14-seater tour bus that departs from Union Mar­ket in Church Hill. Each tour lasts about 3½ hours and vis­its three lo­cal craft bev­er­age mak­ers. Tick­ets are $60 and in­clude the cost of the tast­ings.

Drink Rich­mond isn’t the only tour busi­ness cater­ing to craft bev­er­ages. Rich­mond Brew­ery Tours has been of­fer­ing bus tours of the lo­cal craft beer scene since 2013.

Rich­mond Brew­ery Tours also has a 14-seater bus and of­fers tours on Thurs­days, Fri­days, Satur­days and Sun­days, vis­it­ing three brew­eries on each tour.

“We have a strong re­la­tion­ship with the brew­eries. We think we have the most ed­u­ca­tional ex­pe­ri­ence that you can get,” founder Tommy Miller said. “We re­ally want to sup­port the whole Rich­mond brew­ery scene, and we want to give a fair ro­ta­tion to as many brew­eries as we can.”

He noted that craft bev­er­age tour ser­vices have popped up in sev­eral mar­kets around Vir­ginia. In Rich­mond, both com­pa­nies pro­mote them­selves not as “party” ser­vices but as ed­u­ca­tional tours of lo­cal craft bev­er­age mak­ers, delv­ing into their sto­ries and pro­duc­tion pro­cesses.

“Push­ing re­spon­si­bil­ity is a big thing for me,” Theis said. “I want to make sure we are do­ing this re­spon­si­bly.”

JOHN REID BLACK­WELL/TIMES-DIS­PATCH

Drink Rich­mond, a craft bev­er­age tour ser­vice founded in Wil­liams­burg by Adam Theis (left) and Lance Zaal, be­gan of­fer­ing tours in Rich­mond in early Septem­ber. Theis and Zaal started Drink Wil­liams­burg in 2016.

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