Cheers and music blast from the Sac Brew Bike as it navigates the streets of Midtown Sacramento at five-miles-per hour. It can get loud and the passengers can be rambunctious, but most people seem to embrace it. Aaron Mick says the bike drives past his apartment three or four times a day.
Brew Bike Patrons partake in beer at the Der Biergarten in Midtown Sacramento. Andrew Nixon / Capital Public Radio
“It’s cool. It always looks like people are having a good time. I always wave to them whenever they’re driving by,” Mick said.
Sac Brew Bike offers tours of Midtown Sacramento’s craft beer scene. You can book a seat in advance and the two-hour tour includes three stops: they can include a bar, a brewery or a taproom.
As for the bike itself, it’s dry.
Brew bike owner Chris Ferren-Cirino says he thought about serving beer on the bike. But instead of competing with brick and mortar bars he decided to deliver customers to their doorsteps. And people like Jim Merkel, the general manager at Rubicon Brewery, are grateful.
“I’m always happy to see the beer bike. I don’t know if the bar tenders initially are happy. But of course we’re always happy to have the beer bike,” Merkel said.
Shiree Rezendes guides a group of Sac Brew Bike patrons from bar to bar in Sacramento. Andrew Nixon / Capital Public Radio
The brew bike doesn't look much like a bicycle. It’s more like a bar mounted on the frame of a van. There are six stools on each side and a bench in the back. It sits 15 people and is 100 percent pedal-powered.
But even though a fully-loaded bike weighs more than a ton, Ferren-Cirino says anyone can pedal it.
“We’ve had groups of 90 year olds on the bike. We had a 91st birthday this last summer and it was 100 degrees and there was 15 of them. And they were drinking beers at each spot, pedaling the bike around for the 2-mile tour, and they didn’t have a problem doing it,” according to Ferren-Cirino.
A majority of Ferren-Cirino's customers are locals, but he attracts a fair number of tourists. Jeff Cohn and his girlfriend Knoc Ngo came from the Bay Area for a bike tour.
“Knoc over here and did some research and found out about the brew tour and thought we’d check it out,” Cohn said.
Lauren Hunter of Sacramento dances in her seat to pop music playing on the brew bike. Andrew Nixon / Capital Public Radio
30-year-old, Ferren-Cirino, started the business with his wife Sarah last May. He quit his job at an insurance agency to pursue his two passions.
“I came from UC Davis. I’m a local resident. I’ve lived here for a long time -graduated Davis. I was on the cross country and track team there long with my wife and we’ve always had a passion for cycling, running. We’re always doing stuff like this. Another one of our passions is beer,” Ferren-Cirino said.
And business is booming for Sac Brew Bike. Ferren-Cirino started with one bike but ordered a second a month later. Weekend tours sell out weeks in advance.
He gives partial credit for his success to Sacramento’s growing craft beer scene. He says people are moving from bar to brewery to taproom, trying different local beers, and they’re looking for a fun, safe way to do it.
But the key to his success, he says, is growing demand for entertainment in Sacramento’s urban core.
“I think it’s very easy and fun to get behind such a fun and exciting time in Sacramento. So I think the business has taken off because of the people,” according to Ferren-Cirino.
He says he plans to add a third bike in May.
Sac Brew Bike owner Chris Ferren-Cirino readies his bike for customers before they arrive. Andrew Nixon / Capital Public Radio
Follow us for more stories like this
CapRadio provides a trusted source of news because of you. As a nonprofit organization, donations from people like you sustain the journalism that allows us to discover stories that are important to our audience. If you believe in what we do and support our mission, please donate today.