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After a Pre-COVID Launch, Craft on Wheels Gets Back to Weddings

The mobile bar's owners rode out the storm that was the pandemic, and picked up operations when the coast was clear.

Craft on Wheels co-owners Erin Murphy (center) and Connor Neal, with Ania Kostek (left) and Cali Brown.

The beauty of a side hustle—especially a wedding industry side hustle—is that when something like, oh, a global pandemic comes around, effectively decimating your business prospects, you can continue working your full-time job and pick up operations when the coast is clear. That’s exactly what the owners of Craft on Wheels, a mobile bartending service that operates out of the back of a 1957 Ford pickup, did. “We launched in late 2019 and got a lot of publicity, which created a fair amount of bookings,” says Craft on Wheels co-owner Jim Murphy, who is also the director of marketing and corporate relations at Proctors. “Most of those dried up for 2020, though we had a few events as summer turned into fall. We didn’t pivot as much as ride out the storm.”

And after the storm, calm. “When things did open back up, the events had to be small for a time,” Murphy says. “They were memorable mostly because we got to spend more time with those attending. With meals being served and structured activities such as toasts and dancing, we get less face time with the couples who hire us.”

Little did Murphy and his partners know at the time of their launch, but their vintage truck, which has six taps for beer, cider or wine, was perfectly suited for the impending pandemic (i.e. for outdoor events). “The emergence of wedding barns has been a huge trend in Upstate New York for the past several years,” Murphy says, “and most do not have a liquor permit.” (Craft on Wheels offers full bar service for clients who want it.) “A vintage truck with six taps and a cooler,” he continues, “pairs very nicely with the less formal, country vibe of wedding barns.”

Natalie Moore

Natalie Moore is the director of content at Saratoga Living and Capital Region Living.

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