A tale of Apes and KeyKegs
The 1940s design team behind Italian scooter manufacture Piaggio’s Ape had great foresight in conceiving something that is not merely adopted as a modern-day craft beer icon, but has the precise dimensions to carry a handful of KeyKegs in refrigerated comfort. Visit a beer festival today, and it’s likely there will be at least one Craft Beer brewery serving its cool enjoyment from a Piaggio Ape van converted into a mobile bar-cum-conversation piece. Visit any food or drink event and there are likely to be many conversions to one purpose or another.
It’s an international trend and growing business model, since the number of companies dedicated to converting these quaint little machines into fully-functioning, stand-alone bars selling coffee, beer, wine, champagne or cocktails is on the increase. And who wouldn’t like to drive about in one’s own beer-bar, ready to serve friends, colleagues and other liggers at a moment’s notice? A handy sleeping-compartment would be a welcome addition, too, since drinking beer before driving is neither smart nor condoned.
It is likely that somewhere in the world exists a mobile brewpub, a Piaggio Ape kitted-out with all the necessary accoutrements of a nano-brewery, ready to mill, brew, ferment, mature and serve. What could be fresher.
Besides the Piaggio Ape, there are similar vehicles ripe for transformation, whether it’s the Mahindra Alfa Load, Reliant Regal vans — “Lovely Jubbly!” — Tuk Tuks, e-Tuks or any other small, convenient mode of transportation that can be wheeled into a beer festival or event with a minimum of fuss. It’s not just small, three-wheeled vans witnessing this conversion either. Buses, coaches, Volkswagen Transporters and (most widespread of all) the ubiquitous Citroën H Vans are all being converted into mobile beer outlets. There’s even a Fire Engine or two that no longer serve to extinguish the burning flame, but quench the burning thirst.
Other keg manufacture’s products are available too, and most will fit into any good conversion.