For many of us in the Roll To community, the move from employee to business owner is a challenging path that we ourselves have embarked on.
For others, it’s a dream that they are readying themselves to take the plunge and start chasing.
Allie, owner of The Wandering Taps, is someone who has taken that bold step and finds herself thriving, her business expanding and her enjoyment of life as high as ever.
Allie was one of the early adopters of Roll To, making The Wandering Taps one of the first mobile bars listed on the platform.
With event bookings on the rise, and her recent acquisition of an amazing mobile tap truck via the Roll To Classifieds section, I think it’s fair to say that she’s a power user!
So, we thought who better to invite for an interview? And Allie did not disappoint.
Our conversation is filled with epic advice and insight on what it takes to start a mobile bar business, how to overcome industry challenges, when the time is right to expand, and why working in this industry is so much fun!
If you're in need of inspiration, this is the interview for you.
Check it out below:
Hey Allie, thanks for joining us today! First up, what's your background and who or what inspired you to initially start your mobile business?
“I've worked every job you can imagine in the food & beverage industry!
The idea for The Wandering Taps was 100% my pandemic baby, as I started this business in August 2020.
I was working part-time in a popular brewery in Northern Virginia.
Customers would often ask if they could not only get kegs of our beer, but also rent our bartenders for private parties.
Unfortunately, it just wasn't part of the business model our owner had created. But, boy did a light bulb go off for me when I heard of those requests.
After months of research, I had my first tap trailer built out and delivered.
I couldn't wait to load some kegs up and start pouring local beer!”
Nice! What was the process like building or buying your first bar?
“The initial R&D phase for me was quite mind-blowing, as I am sure many other mobile bar owners reading this are shaking their head in agreement.
Once I started researching the words "mobile bar" I couldn't believe how many businesses were already out there.
I thought to myself "how am I yet to see this concept?!"
It was also overwhelming, and at times confusing.
Throughout the whole research phase of starting this business, I just knew I wanted to be different.
I've always been the type of person that enjoys choosing the path less traveled.
I loved the cute, vintage horse trailer model and I fantasized about them, but ultimately, I chose to go with a more industrial and less "cute" version for my first tap trailer.
This was because I had identified my ideal customer first and that ideal customer wanted ice cold beer on draft, they didn't care if it came from an adorable converted horse trailer, or the back of someone's pick-up truck.
Once I identified the company to build the tap trailer out, the process was seamless.
We agreed on a trailer model, the custom options I wanted, and how long it would take before I had it in my possession.
From start to finish it was 8 weeks.”
"I couldn't wait to load some kegs up and start pouring local beer!”
You recently added a new bar to your fleet, congratulations! Could you tell us some more about that process, where you found the new trailer, and how the deal got done?
“Yes! I caved and bought the adorable mini tap truck for my second piece of equipment.
And I'm so happy I did!
I found another mobile bar company (via Roll To) in South Carolina that was looking to ultimately sell their entire business, as they were moving on with other ventures.
Since I was already very much established with my own LLC, website, socials, etc. I really did not need their business in a box, so we came up with a situation for an equipment only sale.
After a few long conversations, the current owner David and I felt comfortable with one another and like this could be a great situation for both parties.
We just completed the equipment acquisition about 10 days ago and I have already had the little mini tap trailer out in the wild.
Everyone loved her - they all wanted to know the story of where it came from, how it was converted into a tap truck and the most important question, "Can you drive it on the road?!”
Overall, was it easy to initiate the purchase via Roll To?
“It was so simple!
Once I saw it listed on the Roll To website, I just shot a private message over to the owner expressing my interest and that I would love to set-up a time to chat over the phone.
He got back to me within 30 minutes after I submitted the inquiry.
From my perspective I felt more trusting to engage in a conversation with the owner, David, because the mutual connection was Roll To.
I knew this was not something that would be a scam or too good to be true.”
"I am in the process of building out my team which is so exciting.
I can't wait to look back a year from now and see how far all of us have come."
What have you enjoyed most about running your business? Any favorite milestones or steps of the journey so far?
"Meeting so many awesome people & spreading my knowledge and excitement for this industry!
I absolutely LOVE when people are curious about the education of alcohol.
It makes me so happy when people ask the difference between a lager and an ale or what IBUs mean and they genuinely want to learn so they can enjoy what they are drinking at a whole new level.
I have recently been getting more and more inquiries for cocktail making classes or personalized wine tasting classes.
The fact that people not only want to learn about the craft ingredients that go into a custom cocktail but also how to recreate it on their own so they can relive the experience over and over again is so fulfilling to me."
What has been your biggest challenge in launching and running your business?
“Alcohol laws and taxes! LOL!
Both are like the equivalent to the evil step-sisters in Cinderella glaring at me.
The alcohol laws are very restrictive in the state I operate in, South Carolina.
But, I've managed to navigate how to run a profitable business model, so I guess you can say I rose to the challenge.”
"From my perspective I felt more trusting to engage in a conversation with the owner, David, because the mutual connection was Roll To."
What are your upcoming plans for the business and what are you most looking forward to this year?
“Now with two tap trailers and a fleet of standalone bars, I have the ability to execute multiple events per day and per weekend.
I am in the process of building out my team which is so exciting.
I can't wait to look back a year from now and see how far all of us have come.
This is a big growth year for my business.
Expanding at all levels.
With expansion comes other challenges, lessons to learn and advice to seek out.
I am looking forward to continuing to build out strategic partnerships and making my business a household name in Charleston, SC.”
What’s your 2023/24 availability looking like?
“Our calendar is open through 2023 and into Q1 of 2024.
April and May 2023 are super busy for us and so is October.
But with all of the bar options we have now, we definitely have the ability to execute multiple events each day!”
Awesome! Thanks for your time Allie and good luck with the ever-expanding mobile business empire!
So, there you have it folks.
If you're in need of a beer bar on wheels, a gorgeous tap truck, a knowledgeable bartender, or even all three, then The Wandering Taps have you covered!
Reach out to Allie via Roll To with your event details to begin the booking process for your next event!🥂
A big thank you to Allie for her time and we look forward to seeing her continued progress - cheers!