Have you ever looked at the trunk of your car or truck bed, and thought, “If I put a kegerator back there it would really take this tailgate, BBQ, wedding or Wednesday to the next level”? If you love the social connections made over a beer or cocktail, you probably have, but it probably hasn’t inspired you to start restoring vintage trucks into refrigerated mobile drink dispersing machines.
Taylor Steers and Corbin O’Reilly, the founders of Tap Truck have done just that. The two friends and company founders have built out a fleet of vehicles equipped to pour your favorite beverages at events everywhere. I spoke with Taylor about how Tap Truck came to be, how the pandemic is impacting their business and what beer they reach for first.
Cheers: Hi Taylor, thanks for taking a moment to chat with me. What is Tap Truck, and how did the concept originate?
Taylor: Tap Truck is a mobile beverage catering company that utilizes vintage panel trucks that are installed with a 4-6 tap draft system. We tap everything from non-alcoholic drinks to draft cocktails.
[The] concept originated in 2016. Corbin and I wanted to bring a new spin and something different to the current mobile beverage catering companies in San Diego.
Our goal was to incorporate both of our passions into a business concept. Our passions [being] vintage classic American cars and small batch craft alcohol that is new and popular to the market.
Cheers: Why did you decide to build this company in San Diego County? Did you build out your vehicles yourself?
Taylor: We have been operating since August 2016. San Diego, being one of a few craft beer meccas in the United States, seemed like a perfect town to start a local beer truck business. Our first vehicle was a 1952 Chevy Panel which we built out and restored in the driveway of our house. [It was] a passion project turned into a full-time business.
Cheers: How has the business evolved? Where are some of the cool places you’ve taken the trucks?
Taylor: Our business has steadily grown within the local market of San Diego. Meeting event planners, community workers, and small business owners have been key to the growth of our business — making these relationships where we can segue our Tap Trucks into their events, and to represent other business products on our trucks.
We have also taken our label of “Tap Truck” to a national, and now worldwide, level. We currently have Tap Trucks in over 20 different cities throughout the United States, and we are in British Columbia, Canada!
Cheers: How has COVID-19 impacted your business, and what does the future look like for Tap Truck?
Taylor: Corona (COVID-19) has put all event business on pause. We have lost a lot of business from cancellations due to the virus, but luckily a majority of our scheduled events have been postponed to future dates.
The postponement of events has really compacted our late summer schedule. Our availability for new business has definitely gone down.
Cheers: What local beers are at the top of your personal go-to list?
Taylor: The beer we love to serve has a lot to do with the people who brew it and represent it. The industry for craft beer has been so impacted over the past decade that if you make bad tasting beer, good luck competing and surviving in the current day market.
Thus if you can brew great tasting beer, you need great representation to get it out there and place it into accounts.
The beer we provide not only tastes great but has great people behind the beer to represent it. Tap Truck favorites have always been Abnormal Brewing, Coronado Brewing, Ketch Brewing, and Eppig Brewing to name a few.
These breweries have been putting many, many smiles on our customers’ faces for our events.
Cheers: Anything else we should know about Tap Truck?
Taylor: If anyone is interested in Tap Truck, please reach out! We will build you a Tap Truck, construct your website, and consult you into a successful small business!
Are you a local beer or beverage entrepreneur? I want to hear from you about the cool stuff you’re doing. Reach out to [email protected]