There’s a saying that “no fun stories ever began with someone who was eating a salad.” Replace eating salad with drinking a beer, and you’ve definitely set yourself up for a fun night.
That’s exactly how Fuquay-Varina’s Brewquay Prowler got its start — and we’ve heard it’s “Fuqin’” awesome.
The Brewquay Prowler, an open-air vehicle that transports guests around town, is the beer-fueled brainchild of Fuquay-Varina residents Lou Kazman and Donnie Hicks.
The pair, who’ve been close friends since the early 2000s, came up with the idea one night when they were out on the town with their wives.
“Donnie had told me all about the new breweries opening up in Fuquay, and we started getting excited about beer,” Kazman says.
The conversation that followed was full of “a-ha moments,” including the name “Brewquay,” a play on Fuquay, and their slogan: “Fuqin’ awesome.” When Hicks’ birthday rolled around, Kazman gifted him a T-shirt with their Brewquay logo on it, and it was an instant hit.
After a successful day of selling their Brewquay tees at the 2016 Freedom Balloon Fest, they decided to expand their idea beyond merchandise.
“We just started thinking about how we could do something with the concept,” Hicks says. “We were fans of all the breweries — not any one in particular — so we wanted to angle ourselves like a mini chamber for the breweries in southern Wake.”
One of their ideas involved operating a trolley pub that guests could reserve to get from bar to bar. But, unlike downtown Raleigh, where trolley pubs are quite popular and bars are close together, Fuquay-Varina and its surrounding towns are more spread out.
So, the search for a faster, more efficient vehicle began.
While browsing Craigslist, Hicks found a red doon buggy for sale in Sanford. He screen-shotted the listing, texted it to Kazman and quickly received a reply: “Dude, that thing kicks a trolley pub’s ass.”
Two days later, it was theirs.
Once they got the prowler up and running, Kazman and Hicks took to the streets to do some old-fashioned marketing: revving the engine at stop signs, doing donuts in parking lots and saying hello to just about everyone they passed.
“Once people saw the prowler on the road, we were getting phone calls pretty much nonstop,” Kazman says. “It was a pretty quick hit. Some of the owners of the breweries at the time definitely latched on to the idea quickly, because they knew it was going to help bring them business as well. They were first in line to promote it.”
Some of the local bars and breweries on the tour include, but aren’t limited to, the Aviator Taproom, The Corner Biergarten, Vicious Fishes, Cellar 55 and the Mason Jar Lager Company.
Guests can expect to hit three to five bars and breweries throughout the tour, depending on the group and its preferences.
“When they go there, if they’re having a good time and the vibe’s right — the music is good and the band is good — they’ll stay longer,” Hicks says. “If there’s not a lot going on, they’ll maybe have one beer and be like, ‘let’s get out of here.’”
The Brewquay prowler takes about 70 tours each season. At full occupancy, eight people including the driver, the prowler tops out at 65 mph, but can reach 80 mph when just a few people are inside, making it the perfect “limo service” for bachelorette parties, birthday parties or just a fun night out.
As the sole drivers of the prowler, Kazman and Hicks have done it all, from hanging out with guests during the tours to seeing Charlie Adcock, the former Fuquay-Varina town commissioner, take his first ride.
“He was hanging onto the handlebar and just smiling from ear-to-ear,” Hicks says.
“As soon as you get out in the wind on that thing, it just tickles hairs that go to your soul,” Hicks says. “You just can’t help but feel good inside. Not only are you drinking beer and getting a good feeling that way, but just the open air … there’s no helmets, no anything like that. It’s open air and just some of the most fun you’re ever going to have.”