Over the past few years, native New Orleanians Brad and Amber Gunn developed a business that capitalizes on the region's booming craft beer scene. New Orleans Brews Cruise (504-517-4671; www.brewscruise.com/neworleans) became a reality with the official launch of their brewery tour business in January 2017.
As the Gunns both are beer aficionados, launching this type of business made perfect sense for them. New Orleans Brews Cruise offers tours of the nine breweries located in the greater New Orleans area and 504 Craft Beer Reserve, a store specializing in craft brews. For $60 a person (and with a minimum of four people), a Brews Cruise van will take you to your choice of three local breweries. The tours depart from The Avenue Pub on St. Charles Avenue.
At each brewery stop, riders have three to five beer samples before moving on to the next location. Between stops, water and snacks are provided as well as cold storage for any purchases from the breweries. The tour lasts approximately four hours. The Gunns' goal is to offer a safe and educational experience for their customers.
Offering brewery tours minimizes the risk involved with imbibing and driving, and participants receive an education about the brewing process and various beer styles.
"We're really into the craft beer scene and we wanted to share that with both locals and visitors," Amber says. "We've been on these types of brewery tours in Boston and Denver, and we thought it would work well in New Orleans."
On a recent trip to the Great American Beer Festival in Denver, the Gunns struck up a conversation with the owner of Denver Brews Cruise. Considering the burgeoning local brewery scene and New Orleans' reputation as a tourist destination, the Gunns thought a Brews Cruise was needed here too.
Several more breweries and brewpubs are slated to open in the area this year.
"I'm excited about the expansion of breweries and I'm excited that now we have so many breweries that we can go to locally," Amber says. "With 33 breweries now in Louisiana, we're offering tours that go beyond New Orleans."
Weekly, the Gunns offer a tour that visits the four breweries on the Northshore, and about once a month, New Orleans Brews Cruise offers tours as far away as Lafayette and Baton Rouge.