Like all good stories, this one involves a pig farmer.
Said pig farmer had a refrigerated meat truck that he put some beer taps in and then took to parties. One was a house party hosted by McCauley Williams.
“It dawned on me that this was an ingenious idea. I thought it was pretty cool,” says Williams. “But he had a very rudimentary concept. That led us to perfect the design and come up with something that’s more commercially viable.”
Williams enlisted Justin Brooks and J.R. Kingsley to create The TapBox, which they describe as a mobile beer garden.
“At the very least,” Kingsley says he figured, “we could throw some sweet parties.”
The TapBox features a refrigerated box, kept at 36 degrees, which they call the “tapbox.” It holds some 20 kegs and includes taps at front. There’s also a collapsible bar. TapBox does not work as a food truck. Instead, it is a beer vendor, pulling special event permits.
Kingsley says they reached out to organizations like the Riverfront Development Corporation and the Downtown Memphis Commission. They struck a deal with Levitt Shell, which Kingsley says convinced them that The TapBox could work, having sold as much beer in two months as the Shell had sold in a year.
The TapBox works three types of events: private (weddings, birthday parties, etc.); existing events or nonprofits (like Levitt Shell’s concert series for which they figure out a profit-sharing deal); and hosting their own events with a landlord or park (like the Fourth Bluff Friday series, which they co-host).
They’re at the Levitt Shell concert series and the corn maze at the Agricenter. They’ll be at the latest MemFix event and are planning a pop-up beer garden downtown in November.
Events like Fourth Bluff Friday “hits upon the third and most exciting phase of our business: helping bring life to underutilized public spaces,” Williams says. “The power of the beer [is] to provide an anchor for the food trucks. I’ve noticed around town that people grab their food and leave. With beer, it encourages people to stay and hang out. It makes it more of an event, an occasion.”