DETROIT (WWJ) – There are so many ways to experience the ever-changing dynamics of the craft beer scene, and one local business owner has been helping fans of beer take it all in for the last decade.
Motor City Brew Tours, owned by Steve Johnson, offers a variety of ways to not only drink and learn about beer, but experience the city and its history. The company is celebrating its 10th anniversary of operation this year and bills itself as "Detroit's Original Beer Tour Company."
Whether it’s a walking tour, or you’re on a bus, boat or bike, the tours provide an inside look at some of Detroit’s hottest breweries, as well as the stories behind some of the city’s historic buildings.
“I think that’s something that makes Detroit unique is this variety. And that’s interesting to people. They can’t automatically tell just from driving by or walking by. That’s what makes it fun,” Johnson told WWJ’s Zach Clark.
Johnson says his company offers a wide variety of tour options because he always wants to experience something new. And in doing so, he wants to show his customers just what Detroit’s comeback is all about.
“We get a lot of pre-conceived notions about what people think Detroit is,” Johnson said. “Even if you grew up your whole life in the suburbs here and maybe you just go downtown occasionally for games --except maybe for the last couple of years -- Detroit wasn’t an area you probably went downtown to do fun stuff in. That has all changed in the last couple of years.”
He says every time he gets an opportunity to show downtown to people who haven’t experienced it in the last few years, he wants them to walk away being surprised.
“Being excited that there’s all this great change going on, from a brewery standpoint, from a food culture standpoint, from a development standpoint. That’s what I hope for. I want them to have a positive experience.”
Whether it’s a Saturday afternoon historic walking tour around Eastern Market, or a bus tour hitting some of the city’s hottest breweries, or even a boat tour on the Detroit Princess Riverboat – like last fall's “Boatoberfest” pairing candy and beer while cruising the Detroit River – Johnson is trying to give anyone and everyone a look at Detroit’s beer offerings.
“My customer base over the last couple of years has definitely shifted to get a larger percentage of tourists. I had people this summer from New Zealand, from Australia. Just talking to them is exciting. It’s changing their opinion of what they think of Detroit or just beer in general,” Johnson said.
The company also offers private tours and Johnson wrote a book detail Detroit's brewing history.