In the fall of 2021, Davin Jackson and Michael Schram started running their own City Brew Tours franchise in Raleigh, North Carolina. The new business venture, Jackson said, now allows the duo to work in their passion industry—craft beer.
“Being in craft beer, whether it is with City Brew Tours or at a brewery, is something I can see myself doing for a very long time,” Jackson said.
As a growing portion of the American workforce is leaving corporate employment for passion projects, the two young North Carolina entrepreneurs have likewise used their time during the pandemic to start their own business in the craft beer industry.
The duo ran their inaugural brewery tours under the City Brew Tours banner in September 2021. This new business venture comes as Jackson and Schram continue their careers in the restaurant management and information technology fields, respectively.
First founded in 2008, City Brew Tours operates all-inclusive beer tours that combine beer education with craft beer samples, beer-paired meals and knowledgeable beer guides. The company’s tours take guests behind the scenes at iconic craft breweries and distilleries so guests can get an in-depth view of how beer is made. City Brew Tours now operates corporate and franchise locations in 15 cities across North America, with more locations to be announced.
For Schram, the City Brew Tours location he has opened alongside Jackson represents the fulfillment of a desire to work in the world of craft beer. Long a homebrewer and avid craft beer fan, Schram said he loves the industry, but wasn’t sure how he could get his foot in the door. Now, Schram stated, he can operate within the craft beer world working on his own schedule.
“Being in beer tourism allows me to maintain the lifestyle I have now and still be involved in the industry,” Schram said. “I think we have the best of both worlds.”
Jackson was already down in Raleigh when the pair started researching the business of running their own brewery tours. Because of his management position in the restaurant industry in Raleigh, Jackson said he quickly began to foster relationships with movers and shakers in the city’s craft beer scene. While he was researching the feasibility of launching a brewery tour in Raleigh, Jackson said he saw gaps in what was being offered to the public.
“I started looking up brewery tours down here in Raleigh and there were barely any. If there was something, it was a ‘drunk bus,’” Jackson said. “City Brew Tours was the first unique brewery tour I’d ever seen. That was the first thing that drew me in.”
Now, despite launching City Brew Tours Raleigh in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, Jackson and Schram report their business is growing.
“Being in beer tourism allows me to maintain the lifestyle I have now and still be involved in the industry.” – Michael Schram
In addition to publicly offered brew tours, the franchise is now booking private tours for groups and is exploring participating in an upcoming beer festival—a potential first for the Raleigh franchise. Jackson further stated he has been invited to appear as a guest on media, including podcasts and YouTube channels, because of the business.
“It has been fun and very educational,” Jackson said.
As the business has progressed, Schram and Jackson have established deeper relationships with brewery partners across Raleigh. The pair said that connection to the local craft beer scene has been one of the more rewarding aspects of launching their franchise to date.
“That is what is so unique about our business model. We’re really deeply involved in partnerships with these breweries,” Schram said.
The duo both now call Raleigh home, and utilize their brewery tours as a way to showcase the growing tapestry of craft breweries in the city.
With tour stops at notable Raleigh breweries such as Crank Arm Brewing Company and Triangle Beer Co., as well as several other breweries, the City Brew Tours franchisees said they are introducing visitors to local craft brewery gems that deserve a broader spotlight.
“I love being involved in this capacity—not only helping out breweries, but also educating the public about good beer,” Schram said.
This is not an offer to sell a franchise. The offer of a franchise can only be made through the delivery of a franchise disclosure document (“FDD”). Certain states require that we register the FDD in those states. We will not offer or sell a franchise in those states until we have registered our FDD (or obtained an applicable exemption from registration) and delivered the FDD in compliance with the law.