Brew cruise 

OKC Brew Tours escorts beer fans right to the source

click to enlarge Lloyd Vines of OKC Brew Tours.

Photo provided.

Lloyd Vines of OKC Brew Tours.

Lloyd Vines believes in the power of good beer to bring people together.


When he took over as the owner, manager, driver, tour guide, and sole employee of OKC Brew Tours in April of 2021, he’d only been with the business for about four months. After coming on board as a part-time driver and host for the local brewery-centric, curated taproom-crawl-on-wheels, Vines quickly found himself being offered ownership of the entire operation when the original owner decided that it wasn’t for him.


“It just wasn’t really working out originally,” Vines said. “Back then it was just an unmarked, black van pulling up to the breweries with a load of people and asking for pours. It really needed to have some input and some collaboration from the breweries themselves or it wasn’t going to work.”


That push for more collaboration with the breweries, and for more legitimacy among the greater brewing community, became Vines’ top priority from day one.


“I knew that it needed to be beneficial for them as well. There needed to be some synergy,” he said. “At the end of the day, for this to be profitable at all, I have to know that the breweries have my back, and they need to know that I have theirs.”


Proving himself to be a friend of the brewers hasn’t been too difficult for Vines. He’s had a long stint tending the bar at The Big Friendly part-time (a gig that he’s kept up even since taking over the brew tours) and he’s known a number of OKC’s head brewers for years as part of the community’s beer fandom.


Vines has parlayed that fandom into a needed service for a city that suddenly has more than two dozen taprooms.


“I always try to give them a call and a head’s up when I’m bringing a group over. You don’t ever want to just show up and blindside them with a vanload of people,” he said.


For St. Patrick’s Day, he’s considering a move into the “drunk taxi” space, helping to shuttle drinkers to and from bars and breweries to help reduce drunk driving.


And, hey, if all goes well, he might even get a second van and a second employee.


To check out tour times, or to book a private tour or event, visit okcbrewtour.com.

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