Traverse City has long been known as a recreational destination, with its 100-plus mile TART Trail system, the scenic Boardman River and the east and west arms of Grand Traverse Bay. In recent years, the region also has become a mecca for craft beverages like wine, beer, cider and spirits.
Troy Daily, a local entrepreneur and owner of Daily Medias, saw the possibilities for weaving the two together. And one of his endeavors, Paddle for Pints, has become so popular he created Kayak, Bike and Brew in 2015 to tackle the overflow.
“We welcome all size groups and offer up to five tours a day, seven days a week, between May 1 and October 15,” Daily said. “In 2016, we hosted nearly 2,900 people and we have over 2,400 reservations in the system for this summer already.”
Essentially a six-hour urban pub crawl by kayak, Paddle for Pints was presented the “Most Innovative Tourism Collaboration Award for Experience Development” at the Pure Michigan Governor’s Conference on Tourism in April. Daily started Daily Medias, his marketing firm, in 2012 and since has focused on the growing interest in culinary tourism, balanced with low-impact activities like biking, kayaking and snowshoeing.
His TC Cycle Pub began operation in 2013, the same year he introduced the TC Ale Trail — a passport program which encourages craft beer lovers to visit 10 participating breweries, with a reward of a free commemorative silipint glass. Next came the TC Brew Bus, with its private and join-in year-round tours. His events don’t go without notice in Traverse City.
“Troy’s various tours created unique experiences that allow our guests to explore two awesome traits of our area: Boardman River and microbreweries,” says Jonathan Peck, general manager of the Cherry Tree Inn & Suites in Traverse City.
Kayak, Bike & Brew tours start in downtown Traverse City. Participants begin with a 1.3-mile bike ride through the city’s historic neighborhoods to Right Brain Brewery, followed by a 1.5-mile pedal to The Filling Station Microbrewery, located in a former train depot building.
Kayaks are launched on Boardman Lake at nearby Hull Park, where a guided paddle follows the winding Boardman River toward the main downtown city center to Rare Bird Brewpub. The last leg of the 3-mile kayak trip includes a casual float to Clinch Park Beach, along the shores of West Grand Traverse Bay. It is just a short walk to the final stop of the tour — The Workshop Brewing Company, in the popular Warehouse District.