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December 13, 2017

Maine Brew Bus acquires R.I. brewery tour company

Courtesy / The Rhode Island Brew Bus
Courtesy / The Rhode Island Brew Bus
Zach Poole, left, of The Maine Brew Bus, and Bill Nangle of The Rhode Island Brew Bus after transfer of the Rhode Island company was completed on Dec. 11.

About The Maine Brew Bus

The Maine Brew Bus was founded in September 2012 by Zach and Allison Poole, who realized that people visiting Portland might enjoy all-inclusive tours on bright green school buses that provide a behind-the-scenes look at Maine's craft breweries, distilleries, wineries, and more. Tours are led by expert guides in addition to a knowledgeable non-drinking driver to ensure the best possible experience for participating guests as well as for the businesses with which they partner. In March, it acquired Maine Beer Tours LLC, a similar company providing all-inclusive tours to breweries, wineries and distilleries in Greater Portland.

About Rhode Island Brew Bus

The Rhode Island Brew Bus was founded in 2014 by Bill Nangle. After completing his last semester at the University of Rhode Island, he wanted to start his own business. As a home brewer and a craft beer enthusiast, and after being inspired by The Maine Brew Bus, he started Rhode Island's first brewery tour company. The all-inclusive tours are run on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays around the state of Rhode Island and parts of Connecticut. Private and corporate tours are available for booking on other days of the week.

Zach Poole, founder of The Maine Brew Bus LLC, announced today he has acquired the operations of The Rhode Island Brew Bus, LLC, a company providing all-inclusive tours to breweries, wineries, and distilleries in Rhode Island and parts of Connecticut.

The purchase adds a major new territory in southern New England to the growing Maine Brew Bus company based in Portland. In 2016, they added tours in Boston, operating as Mass Brew Bus, and earlier this year they acquired a competitive tour business in their hometown.

Terms of the Rhode Island acquisition, which closed on Dec. 11, were not disclosed.

"I am excited about the opportunity to bring what we have learned about beer tourism over the past five years to an already existing operation in Rhode Island," Poole said in a news release. "After visiting the area and conducting extensive market research, we've learned that Providence is a great city and the beer scene is definitely growing across the state. We look forward to bringing more guests through the doors of both new and established breweries in the Ocean State."

Poole said a Rhode Island Brew Bus business office has opened in Providence.

Existing tour operations with the two buses in the fleet will continue as planned, with an expanded tour schedule introduced after the first of the year. The five part-time employees that are currently providing tour operations for Rhode Island Brew Bus will continue to work for the new ownership, and it is expected that other staff will be added in the coming months.

All guests that are currently booked on tours with the Rhode Island Brew Bus will not see any major changes to their beer travel plans.

Bill Nangle, of North Smithfield, R.I., started the Rhode Island Brew Bus in 2014 after completing his last semester at the University of Rhode Island. Since the first all-inclusive tours started rolling later that year, thousands of guests have visited many of the 20 different brewery and winery partners that are part of the multiple weekly itineraries.

He said the decision to sell wasn't easy.

"The past few years as owner of The Rhode Island Brew Bus have been so rewarding," he said. "Our partnerships have grown and our reviews speak for themselves. I take pride in the product we put on the road every weekend and want to see our tours and partnerships continue to grow. Stepping away from the company was not an easy decision, but I feel it is what is best for my family, career, and the future of The Rhode Island Brew Bus."

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