By Andrea Harwood Palmer
Business partners Jim Murphy, Erin Murphy and Connor Neal have started a mobile craft beverage service based in Glens Falls, serving the Capital Region and North Country including Saratoga County.
Craft on Wheels is a mobile bar company utilizing vintage vehicles to bring craft beers, ciders and wines to serve at special events like weddings, corporate functions, private parties, festivals, and the like.
Jim Murphy has lived in Glens Falls for 14 years. In addition to partnering on the Craft on Wheels venture, Murphy is currently the director of marketing and corporate relations at Proctors Theater, and the publisher of regional arts magazine The Collaborative.
“The idea was from my daughter’s boyfriend, Connor Neal, who had been exposed to other companies doing this in the Boston area,” said Murphy. “We’d done a little research, and there are actually quite a few markets in the country where people are doing something like this—but not around here.”
The partners spent some time looking for just the right vehicle to start their fleet and found a 1957 Ford F-100 in the Catskills. The vehicle is fitted with a six-tap cold beverage serving system. The venture quickly gained a local following, with over 1,000 Instagram followers organically derived by the end of 2019.
Craft on Wheels has a few niche areas.
“For weddings, it’s become more popular and common to do them in a place other than the stereotypical banquet hall at a hotel. More and more people are looking for barn weddings, outdoor weddings and backyard weddings—looking for something a little different,” said Murphy. “Most of the time, those venues need to be catered for food and beverage. It opens up the opportunity for a company like ours to go in and serve drinks.”
“This kind of setting really adds something to the event. Everyone wants to have their photo taken with the truck when we show up. It adds an element of nostalgia and fun,” he said.
“We can work with local distributors or local breweries to procure what people want. There’s not really any limits on what someone wants, as long as it’s available locally,” said Murphy.
New York state allows ventures such as Craft on Wheels to get their beer, wine and hard cider license for events. The company can be hired as a bartending service for hard liquors in partnership with venues that could provide the hard beverages and corresponding liquor licensing.
“We have three options. People can hire us to serve beer, wine and hard cider. Or they can hire us as a bartending service and provide the hard liquor themselves. We can also rent out our truck and the venue can use their own labor and beverages to serve their clientele,” said Murphy.
“It’s work for us, it’s a business, but it’s also a lot of fun,” he said.
To learn more, visit www.craftonwheels.com.
By Andrea Harwood Palmer