BREWVANA, a pillar of Portland’s beer community for the past nine years, has sold a majority stake to City Brew Tours, the nation’s leading brewery tour operator based on the East Coast. Effective Nov. 1, 2019, the company will become BREWVANA managed by City Brew Tours.
Founded in 2010 by Ashley Rose Salvitti, BREWVANA has been showcasing the history and culture of Portland’s craft beer scene ever since, providing all-inclusive tasting experiences that are both educational and fun. In 2018, the company rebranded as “Portland Through Craft” and expanded to offer tours of other Portland craft specialties, including coffee, spirits, cider, and donuts. Salvitti has chosen to sell her business to focus on her family.
“I’ve been a 100% owner for nine years, and it’s time to let someone else handle the business operations,” explained Salvitti. “I will still be a minority owner and plan to continue to lead tours––that’s the fun part and the reason I started the company originally. I love introducing guests to our local craft creators and leaving them buzzing in the euphoric state of BREWVANA!”
According to Salvitti, current BREWVANA employees will stay on under the new ownership. “City Brew Tours has multiple locations across North America, so this arrangement opens up even more opportunities for our staff,” she added.
“Since Ashley founded BREWVANA, I’ve been following her success and have always admired her tenacity and creativity,” said Chad Brodsky, founder and CEO of City Brew Tours. “BREWVANA’s tour experience and branding have acted as a model for key parts of CBT’s business. We are so excited to bring BREWVANA into the City Brew Tours family.”
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City Brew Tours was founded by Brodsky in 2008 as Burlington Brew Tours in Burlington, Vermont. Four years later, after perfecting the business model, Brodsky opened up Boston Brew Tours. With two cities under his belt, the name Burlington Brew Tours no longer made sense and it was changed to City Brew Tours.
City Brew Tours quickly expanded tour operations into other beer-drenched cities, including Washington, D.C. in 2014, Philadelphia in 2015, and Baltimore in 2016. In 2017, Brodsky brought on Barry Hansen, Jr. as his partner and COO to help streamline logistics and further expand the company.
Hansen had brewed commercially at Capitol City Brewing Co. in Washington, D.C., and Freedom Craft Brewery in New York, before joining City Brew Tours. He has since stewarded the company in additional cities, including Pittsburgh in 2017 and New York City in 2018. BREWVANA will be the company’s first West Coast operation.
City Brew Tours served as an inspiration for Salvitti when she first set up BREWVANA’s business model. She later met Brodsky and Hansen in person at the Beer Marketing and Tourism Conference. In 2018, they worked together to establish the Craft Beverage Tour Operators Assn., a non-profit organized to support craft beverage tour operators and grow their business opportunities by building bridges between members and the craft beverage, tourism and allied communities around the world.
“The booming industry of independent craft beer was built on collaboration: sharing recommendations, best practices, and even ingredients,” said Hansen. “We tried to make that central to the concept of the Craft Beverage Tour Operators Association, and with this opportunity to combine our East Coast success with these West Coast relationships, we think beer tourism is going to only get stronger.”