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City's first pubcycle set to roll next month

Adam Justus describes the HVL Pedal & Brews trolley at a City Council meeting as Josh Israel looks on. Adam Justus describes the HVL Pedal & Brews trolley at a City Council meeting as Josh Israel looks on.

By next month, craft beer fans will be able to pedal and sip on board Hendersonville’s first pubcycle, a people-powered trolley that will allow beer, wine and hard cider.

 

The Hendersonville City Council on Thursday granted a pubcycle franchise to HVL Pedal & Brews, owned and operated by Adam Justus of East Flat Rock. HVL Pedal & Brews, a pedal-assisted motorized vehicle, will operate a Brewery Route, Downtown Tour Route, History Cemetery Tour Route and a Special Events Tour Route.

The HVL pubcycle seats 14 — 10 pedalers and four non-pedalers — plus a conductor. The Brewery Tour Route could include stops at Dry Falls, Sanctuary, Triskelion, Southern Appalachian and Guidon breweries. Options include Pedal to the Pints, an hour-and-a-half ride, with two taproom intermissions along the way; Pedal Your Hendo Off!, a shorter 45-minute tour showing “the lights and sights of Downtown Hendersonville;” and Pedal Backwards, a 45-minute non-alcoholic ride on Saturday and Sunday mornings to see the historic sights, buildings and Oakdale Cemetery.

The pickup and dropoff will be at the pubcycle’s headquarters on Second Avenue East next to Sanctuary Brewing Co. Justus and his business partner, Josh Israel, a building contractor, have plans to upgrade the Second Avenue space, possibly adding a waiting room and beer taps. After they pick up the trolley from Boone on Nov. 4, they plan to take rehearsal rides with friends and family to verify the timing and other logistics. Rides will cost $15 to $25 each or $325 for renting the trolley for wedding parties, birthdays, corporate outings and other occasions, Justus said. The trolley will have clear curtains if needed to protect passengers in cold weather or rain.

“We expect tourists to make up the strongest market at 73 percent,” Justus told the City Council. About a quarter will be local residents, he added, offering people “something new and fun.” If it’s not here “they will travel to other communities to spend their dollars and their time.”

The fast-growing craft-beer demographic ranges in age from 21 to 54, he said, which fits the average in Henderson County of 46. Justus projects the pubcycle will carry 1,500 customers a month, 600 of whom will be dropped off at brewery stops for 20-minute intervals. Justus and a partner have bought a similar business in Boone. They expect the Hendersonville pubcycle will be delivered on Nov. 4 and could be operating before Thanksgiving.
Council members granted the franchise in a unanimous vote with few questions. Councilman Jeff Miller asked that the operators to make sure the pubcycle is sensitive to funerals that may be under way at Shepherd funeral home on Church Street and that the Sunday morning historic tours be sensitive to church services when using amplified sound for the tour guide. Justus promised that he would.