Event trucks typically are effective marketing vehicles (no pun intended) for a distributor or beverage producer, but their capacity beyond that has been traditionally limited. Yet, in the past few years, equipment manufacturers have been giving the trucks some added functionality, enabling beverage companies to kill two birds with one stone and save some money.
Isuzu Commercial Truck of America (ICTA) has been at the forefront of that concept. Last month, ICTA completed its 25th craft beer truck, designed to be both a delivery truck and beer dispensing system for events. The completion of this vehicle is about three and a half years following the initial debut of one it designed for Bottle Logic Brewing, Anaheim, Calif.
“It all kind of started because I like craft beer and I go to breweries,” recalls Brian Tabel, executive director of marketing at ICTA. “I was talking to someone and they were kind of complaining that they have this trailer that they bring to events that they have to put taps on — and then they’ve got to clean them and then take them out and what a pain and a waste of time that is. I said, ‘I’m in the truck industry, maybe I can find a way to solve these issues.’”
Ultimately, Isuzu worked in conjunction with refrigerated truck body supplier Wabash and Delivery Concepts Inc., the latter of which designed the recessed, enclosed tap system on the side of the body. Delivery Concepts has become a leading upfit specialist for temperature-controlled delivery vehicles, enabling fleets to customize around their individual needs.
“It sits inside the reefer body and at that point, [operators] can literally just close the door and the taps are concealed,” Tabel explains. “It gives them the ability to have a delivery truck that’s also an event truck in one, so they don’t have to have an extra vehicle or trailer because of the capacity of the truck. It can hold a lot of kegs that are able to be served at an event without having to transfer kegs in and out.”
The vehicle can hold a payload of as much as 9,000 pounds, Tabel notes. A Thermo King T-690 electric standby unit keeps the temperature regulated, he explains.
“We had the Bottle Logic truck in Palm Springs, out in 115 degrees, holding 33 degrees throughout the event,” Tabel says.
The standard version comes with eight taps installed, but the company has sold a custom model with 16 taps and automated dispensing capabilities. On that one, a user would just swipe a credit or debit card against the transponder and the tap would instantly pour beer.
At this month’s NTEA Work Truck Week in Indianapolis, Isuzu is unveiling a modified version with an added “box store” element, which can hold bottles or cans of brews that aren’t available in draft form.
“It [combines] a delivery truck and an event truck into one and reduces the costs of having multiple vehicles,” Tabel adds. “That’s what really drove it from the beginning — making it streamlined for the breweries.”
And it becomes a conversation piece that boosts a brewery or distributor’s branding activities.
“We’ve done a number of events and people would say, ‘Hey we’re going to meet at the Bottle Logic truck,’” Tabel notes. “It becomes a focal point because it stands out at an event.”