This article first appeared in The Independent Newspaper. Read more about #EverythingEastEnd here
The nine women who run Brew Crew Cycles span three family generations. Raised a toast to their fifth year in business this year. Brew Crew Cycles is Long Island’s exclusive brew tour and bike experience, located in the town of Riverhead.
During a bike tour with her family in Portland, OR five years ago, Cathy Wilinski, founder and treasurer, returned with an idea. “She recognized we all have varied talents that can be combined to build something within the family. We can all own and work together to build something to be proud of,” said Victoria Clacherty, Wilinski’s niece, co-founder and marketing director of the business.
Brew Crew Cycles offers 14-person bikes for two-and-a-half-hour tours of three breweries or local pubs. Participating businesses include Long Ireland Brewery, Crooked Ladder Brewing Company, Moustache Brewing Company, North Fork Brewing Company, The Birchwood of Polish Town, and Digger’s Ales and Eats.
Each bike requires eight riders to move it, which means after 10 to 15 minutes of pedaling between destinations, patrons can responsibility drink during the 30-minute stops. The cost of tastings is not included in the $30 to $35 tour price, but the experience getting there is far more fun than walking.
Bike “drivers” also act as DJs, and riders can choose a musical selection from their playlist to hear on their tour. “Even if you are not a beer drinker, the energy levels are high and everyone is just having a good time. You have no choice but to enjoy yourself,” Clacherty noted. Beyond everyday rides, the company offers themed tours including July Fourth, Christmas in July, and Halloween. Special summer tours include Industry Nights and Local Night.
“Riverhead has been very good to us, accommodating and welcoming from the beginning,” she said.
“Over the past four seasons and start of this fifth, we have brought over 14,000 riders to Riverhead and to the local breweries and restaurants and with the increased traffic out to the North Fork and to the up-and-coming breweries in the area, we have really seen an uptick in interest,” Clacherty said. “We are fortunate to have the North Fork tourism increase and craft beer boom on our side and we look forward to riding that out as long as we can — no pun intended.”
Furthering female empowerment, Brew Crew Cycles sells a Women’s Strength t-shirt with the image of Rosie the Riveter and donates all proceeds to The Retreat, an organization helping victims of domestic violence.
Clacherty said, “We get repeat riders all the time that rave about all the fun they have, and that is really special to all of us at Brew Crew.”