Checking out the latest and greatest brewery, meadery and distillery options in Delaware is a favorite pastime of many. But one unlucky soul always gets stuck being the designated driver while everyone else smiles and sips the day away. And even though the number of drunk driving incidents has decreased (thanks to the availability of Lyft and Uber), drinking and driving is still an issue.
About nine months ago, Jeffrey Cheskin and Terri Sorantino—the owners of Liquid Alchemy Beverages in Wilmington—went on a brewery tour in Philadelphia.
“We thought it was a neat idea,” says Cheskin. But he admits it was one of their patrons that suggested to the duo to start a brew bus.
Liquid Alchemy is located directly adjacent to All-In-One Transportation, “so we brought them the idea and they loved it. They are a small family business, are closed on weekends and nights and already have drivers,” says Cheskin.
Little by little the idea blossomed into a business, and in late 2018, First State Brew Tours was launched.
Tours are available on the 16-seater bus on the first three Saturdays of every month.//Photo by Joe Conway
Currently, tours are available on the 16-seater bus on the first three Saturdays of every month. The first tour of the month starts at Liquid Alchemy, then heads to Bellefonte Brewery and also stops at Wilmington Brew Works. The second tour begins at Argilla Brewing Co. and includes visits to Dew Point Brewery and Twin Lakes Brewery. The final tour option begins at Midnight Oil Brewery and visits Blue Earl Brewing and Painted Stave Distilling. The first two tours are approximately four hours long, while the third tour lasts almost six hours.
At each stop, guests are treated to a flight of beverages as well as tours and talks with professionals. There is often a food truck at each location to purchase food (or enjoy the full menu at Argilla Brewing Co. during that tour). Each guest is also given a bottle of water for the tour as well as some small snack bags. The tour guide is also a Cicerone Certified Beer Server (and one of the other three business partners in the group).
While only structured tours are available at the moment, First State Brew Tours is hoping to expand its options. “We are imagining private tours where people can create their own a la carte tours,” says Cheskin.
But Cheskin and Sorantino are hoping more breweries get on board. “Right now we have nine core breweries involved, but we are looking to expand further down south,” says Cheskin.
First State Brew Tours offer curated tours on the first three Saturdays of the month. The first two last approximately four hours and cost $59 per person. The third tour is five-six hours and costs $69 per person. (Guests are given $5 off their ticket if they take an Uber or Lyft to the starting location.) All tours begin at noon.
For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.firststatebrewtours.com.