Talk about a buzz bus

New shuttle in Fort Collins offers ride to breweries

Beer fans in Fort Collins have one less thing to worry about: getting from bar to bar safely and DUI-free. Hops Brewery Shuttle began business April 13 and for $10 will take drinkers to the multitude of breweries in Fort Collins. Businesses that are out of the way will especially benefit from the new prospect. Chris Anderson, a driver with the Hops Brewery Shuttle, attaches a sign to his bus. Enlarge photo

Associated press/The Coloradoan, Rich Abrahamson

Beer fans in Fort Collins have one less thing to worry about: getting from bar to bar safely and DUI-free. Hops Brewery Shuttle began business April 13 and for $10 will take drinkers to the multitude of breweries in Fort Collins. Businesses that are out of the way will especially benefit from the new prospect. Chris Anderson, a driver with the Hops Brewery Shuttle, attaches a sign to his bus.

FORT COLLINS (AP)

Brewery buses and shuttles are nothing new, but there has yet to be a consistent service in Fort Collins that offers beer drinkers a reliable, cheap ride from brewery to brewery.

That is about to change with the recent launch of two new brewery shuttle services.

The companies behind the new brewery shuttles are Green Ride and Super Shuttle, two airport shuttle companies.

On April 13, Green Ride launched its “Hops Brewery Shuttle,” while Super Shuttle premieres “Hops & Shops.”

Both services will run Fridays and Saturdays to start, offering rides between the breweries for $10. The concept is to provide a safe way to go from brewery to brewery so patrons can enjoy the beer and not have to worry about a designated driver.

Bob Flynn, founder of Green Ride Colorado, said he sees a need for such a service with the amount of breweries that have sprung up in town. Flynn said he went to each brewery, with the exception of Anheuser Busch and CB & Potts. He said everyone signed on, with the exception of CooperSmith’s Pub & Brewing.

Dwight Hall, CooperSmith’s brewer, said they think the brewery shuttle is a great idea, but they often are crowded during the times the shuttle runs and didn’t want to make promises they couldn’t keep.

With his brewery and the shuttle in the heart of Old Town, Hall said they still welcome the shuttle’s riders and may partner with them in the future.

The shuttle will start at the northeast corner of College and Mountain avenues and make a large loop. For $10, riders get a wristband and can get on and off the shuttle at their leisure.

“For me, it is a lot more attractive than a tour that is on a schedule,” Flynn said. “We feel pretty good about its chances of success.”

If the shuttle is a success, Flynn said there are plans for an app that lets people book a seat on their phone and locate where the shuttle is in relation to them. There also are plans for expanded hours of operation from Tuesday through Saturday from May 1 to Oct. 13 and another shuttle at some point.

On a recent Friday afternoon, Chris Anderson angled the “Hops Brewery Shuttle” through Old Town waiting for his first rider.

Anderson previously was a winery shuttle tour guide in Napa Valley and Sonoma, Calif. The tours draw different crowds because wine is connected to a high-class food culture and beer is more bar culture, Anderson said.

“Similarities are that people are always happy,” he said.

Brad Lincoln, co-founder of FunkWerks, whose brewery stands to benefit the most from the shuttles because it is the farthest away, said it seems like a good idea and hopes it will help with Friday business and tourism.

“Sometimes, people don’t know that we exist,” he said. “And in the summer, we notice a lot more business because people bike out. So, in winter, it may help out.”

Hops & Shops starts its shuttle in front of Town Pump at the top of the hour and half past the hour that will loop between Old Town breweries, including Black Bottle Brewery, which is yet to open, before then departing to other breweries outside Old Town such as New Belgium Brewing Co. and Odell Brewing Co. and FunkWerks Inc. The shuttle operates between 11 a.m. and 7 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays.

Shawn Campbell, Hops & Shops general manager, said this is a concept they have been considering for a while in talking with the breweries and local businesses.

“The goal is to make it easier. New Belgium is one of the most popular breweries in country, not just Fort Collins, and it has limited parking,” he said. “It really becomes a safety issue, as well. ... The goal is no one is ever going to drive home drunk if they have been riding our shuttle and visiting the breweries.”

Campbell said Super Shuttle had the staff and vehicles for the business and are in a unique position with having Yellow Cab available to offer shuttle riders a discounted ride home.

The shuttle is not timed with brewery tours. Starting May 4, the Hops & Shops Shuttle will expand to also pick up and drop off and a few select hotels ranging from Harmony Road up to north Fort Collins.

Jim Clark, executive director of the Fort Collins Convention & Visitors Bureau, has met with both companies and said this has been a service the bureau has been looking forward to for years.

“It’s really exciting, and kind of gets us to the point where we are building a brewery tour culture,” Clark said. “I think it’s a product whose time has come.”

Clark said the Fort Collins visitors bureau receives calls daily about the breweries and tours.