Czech beer

Brno puts beer on track

Retrofitted trams will do double duty as rolling pubs in second-largest city

With the hectic pace of modern life, almost everyone has shifted to multitasking. The Czech Republic’s second city has been brewing up a plan to let people get more out of the time they spend between hopping on and hopping off the tram.

Officials at Dopravní podnik města Brna (DPMB) – the company that runs public transportation in Brno, south Moravia – will be converting some trams into traveling pubs.

The program was developed in cooperation with Brno-based brewery Starobrno, which since 2003 has been part of the Heineken Group. The first public trial took place June 15, and the concept will undergo more testing during the summer.

Onboard the pub tram, commuters can sample three beers from Starobrno’s range, and seats are fitted with special cup holders to ensure not a single drop is wasted in transit.

Petr Syřiště, chief of marketing at Starobrno, said the project brings together two of Brno’s biggest phenomena. “Proper Brnonians ride trams and drink Starobrno,” he said. “We are proud to have realized this wonderful project alongside the transit company. On the pub tram, both citizens of Brno and tourists can enjoy our two most celebrated assets while traveling around the city in style.”

The pub tram has 38 seats and 17 standing spaces, and has been designed to resemble a traditional Czech pub. During operation, passengers will be able to enjoy three types of beer from the Starobrno portfolio as well as hot beverages, soft drinks and food. Those concerned about the immediate aftereffects of beer need not worry, as the pub trams are fitted with restrooms.

The concept has been fermenting for some time. To make the project possible, engineers at DPMB spent three months refurbishing a K2R-design tram, which bends in the middle and is as long as two standard tram cars. The tram had to be retrofitted to facilitate the typical electrical components found in restaurants had power. Each tram will have a Wi-Fi connection, LCD screens and refrigeration to make sure the beer stays cold.

Miloš Havránek, the CEO of DPMB, said the pub trams are a good showcase for his company. “We realized that the pub trams were a good way to popularize public transport,” he said. “At the same time, they are a great display of the skill of our workers and technicians at DPMB. I am glad we can bring our customers something new, whether that is simply through good service or entertainment.”

For the next three months, select client groups will be offered the opportunity to test the pub tram to help DPMB and Starobrno determine whether the concept is commercially viable, and to iron out any kinks in service.

DPMB is particularly keen to demonstrate the pub tram to potential advertisers but will also make it available for family celebrations, graduations and other occasions.

The transport company expects to resolve and service problems by early September. If the project stays on track, the pub-tram service will then be made available to the wider public.

Syřiště says he is looking forward to seeing the project reach a head after one year of preparation. “The pub tram is the best way to get to the heart of Brno while enjoying a beer,” he said.

DPMB was launched in 1869, and the Starobrno brewery began operations in 1872. Today, Starobrno produces more than 1 million hectoliters of beer each year.

This is not the only novel approach to be announced for public transportation in the Czech Republic. ROPID, Regional Organiser of Prague Integrated Transport, announced special metro cars and designated platform waiting areas for single people. The idea was met with a mixed response and is still in the planning stages.

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