Drink. Pedal. Repeat.
That is the BrewCycle and BrewBarge Portland motto!
In honor of International Beer Day – which is TODAY, I wanted to share the success story behind BrewBarge with BrewGroup owner, Andrea Lins.
BrewBarge Portland Deets:
BrewBarge is Portland’s only pedal-powered, 14-person vessel on the Willamette River. The barges go out multiple times a day; therefore, you select your desired time, sign-up and show-up ready to grind the gears with your favorite beverage, tunes, snacks and sunscreen. Each cruise lasts about 1.5 hours and has a captain and first mate ready to make all your pedal-powered dreams come true.
In my opinion; BrewBarge Portland
I am a water baby through-and-through. This is why I chose to take to the water for my pedal-powered fun with BrewBarge instead of staying on land and participating in BrewCycle. Moreover, has anyone else noticed how HOT this summer has been? I prefer to do my day and evening drinking on the water to beat the heat. In addition, anyone that follows my Instagram knows my obsession with the golden hour making BrewBarge’s 7pm tour a perfect time to sip some brew while watching the sun go down behind downtown Portland.
After hiking eight miles earlier in the day, I was a little worried about how much exercise the BrewBarge would demand from my already fatigued body. However, I was surprised that with the help of the other 13 peddlers, it really did not seem to be as much work as I had anticipated. In addition, the captain allowed us to take many breaks and enjoy the sunset. I had signed-up with one girlfriend and 12 others that were part of a birthday party joined us. This is a great idea for a large group because you are able to control the music on the boat by plugging in your iPhone.
I preferred the BYOB style of BrewBarge because I actually would choose to sip rosé during the sunset on the water instead of beer. We brought our own cheese and fruit plate to accompany our drink of choice. The captain and first mate were a husband and wife team and were extremely welcoming and hospitable as well as fun and entertaining. The sun sunk down as we made our way under the Portland bridges cruising at a casual 5 mph.
In hindsight, I would have brought more than one bottle of wine and I would have worn longer shorts. The construction of the barge was well thought out. There are built-in coolers with ice within the table allowing for plenty of space for bottles and cans. When closing the cooler, there is ample space to set your snacks directly in front of you. This was a superb way to spend a Portland summer evening and I would highly recommend for local groups or for entertaining out of town guests. As an event planner by day, I also think this would be a perfect small corporate event. You can sign-up and get more information by clicking here.
Q and A with BrewGroup Portland owner Andrea Lins:
BrewBarge and BrewCycle seem like very simple ideas for creating unique fun in Portland. If you are wondering (as I was) about the backstory behind BrewGroup check-out the interview below with owner Andrea Lins.
What was the spark or thought process behind starting BrewCycle/BrewBarge? – Honestly, I was working three jobs and was not really enjoying the amount of time and energy I was putting in to work. I had seen the giant bike pub-crawl concept in my college town of Milwaukee, Wisconsin and thought, I can do that and it would be a lot more fun than what I am doing now! Thus the BrewCycle was born! The BrewBarge was a natural progression, as soon as we were told of the same type of vehicle but the water version was available, we knew we had to get one and try it out!
Are you a Portland native? What did you do before being an entrepreneur? – I am not a Portland native, born and raised in Wisconsin. I sometimes wish I were a Portland native because of how much I love this city but wonder if it is because I’ve lived elsewhere that I can truly value how much this community means to me. Prior to starting BrewCycle, I was living in Vail, CO working three jobs. I worked for a financial firm remotely during the day that was my job out of college. Then I also worked in a hotel in the evenings and on the mountain as a ticket scanner on the weekends.
What advice would you give to women thinking about starting their own small business? – Let hearing the word ‘no’ be translated in to ‘not that way’. Being told no is just a hurdle to reposition yourself in a way that can lead to a yes. Go with your gut and trust your instincts. Just because some people don’t get it doesn’t mean others won’t, (believe me, trying to describe a 15 person bike that’s going to pedal to pubs on a pub crawl and charge people for it…not 100% clear to everyone initially).
What was your biggest challenge when starting this business? – Every challenge in the beginning felt like the biggest, I’m a very dramatic person. Insurance, storage, permitting, structure of rides, online things…it’s all hard when you are trying to navigate a new city and policies. Above that, probably one of the biggest personal struggles was officially letting go of my day job and committing to making BrewCycle my only priority and income. I knew that if it was going to work, I had to make it work and throw myself in to it 100%. I turned in my laptop to my finance job that I was still working remotely for, 5 months and one day after moving to Portland.
What is your vision for BrewCycle/BrewBarge in the next few years? – We want to continue to bring more attention to the breweries within our community! I love that as we add new routes, we can expose our riders to different atmospheres and beers (or cocktails!). So our vision is to just expand the ability to showcase our local love, in every way we can.
In one sentence, why do you think everyone should try BrewCycle/BrewBarge? – Because it truly embodies what we love in Portland, beer, biking and community…we love the opportunity to offer all three in one unique experience!