What's a road trip without a mini-bus?

We are less than 39 days away! Most of the breweries are on board (you can see the most up to date list on our "breweries" page) and the realization that this trip is going to actually happen has set in.

I will use this blog over the next couple of months to introduce to you several aspects of the trip, the people involved, and of course the places I will visit, but I thought I'd start all of that with the most important introduction . . . Kathy, the BREW BUS.

In the summer of 2014 I called my dad and told him, "I want to start a brewery tour company in Knoxville and I found a "short bus" on Craiglists in Lexington, KY and I wanted to go check it out." He was on board for the road-trip. I have been very lucky to have two wonderful and extremely entrepreneurial-ly spirited parents. My dad was pretty much the one to encourage me to jump off the cliff and my mom was the one to make sure I had a parachute, both necessary if you want to successfully jump off a cliff.

First fuel up on the way home.

First fuel up on the way home.

Bunks for the hunters and overhead storage.

Bunks for the hunters and overhead storage.

She was for sale from a guy who had converted the bus into a hunting vehicle. It had two bunks in the back and tons of storage and hunting related gadgets like a weather dish. When I finally got it home my best friend and roommate and I slept on the bunks in the driveway. We felt it deserved one more sleep over before the BREW BUS conversion could begin.

Removed the bunks, painted the floor

Removed the bunks, painted the floor

Starting building the bench seats

Starting building the bench seats

Bench seats in but not yet cushioned or painted

Bench seats in but not yet cushioned or painted

Even since this picture we have added real LED lights, a few black rugs down the center, and had the windows tinted.

Even since this picture we have added real LED lights, a few black rugs down the center, and had the windows tinted.

The decision of which vehicle to take wasn't as immediate or as easy as I had anticipated. I debated for a long time to take my fairly "new-to-me" 1989 VW Vanagon bus. The only reason I have that vehicle is because of a dear friend of mine named Ben Seamons and I strongly considered dedicating this trip to his memory but to keep things simple I couldn't risk taking a vehicle that is notorious for break downs. Instead I will continue to honor him by using the the VW every weekend to spread the gospel of the good news of craft beer one sample at a time through Knox Brew Tours.

Ultimately I have chosen to take Kathy for the same reason she received her name in the first place. My Aunt Kathy, who I loved and cared for deeply, passed away in the fall of 2014 just before the launch of Knox Brew Tours. I named the bus in her honor because I knew without hesitation that her love and support for me and my dreams never waivered or grew weary. Simply put, Knox Brew Tours and a trip such as The TN Beer Run wouldn't be possible without the love and support of the people in my life and therefore it only seems fitting to take Kathy on this trip.

Pre-"racing strips" as my dad called them

Pre-"racing strips" as my dad called them

Final exterior

Final exterior

With fingers crossed, a tool set, and a quart of oil I hope Kathy will help us complete this epic journey. I feel pretty good about it.

What's a road trip without a mini-bus?

Cheers!

Zack, The BREW BUS Guy