Image Courtesy of Isuzu Commercial Truck of America

Image Courtesy of Isuzu Commercial Truck of America

At this year's Craft Brewers Conference in Las Vegas, one vehicle generated as much buzz as the latest hazy IPA or barrel-aged stout. The latest version of the "Ultimate Craft Beer Truck," unveiled by Isuzu Commercial Truck of America, can handle daily deliveries and is also outfitted for use as a mobile tap room for festivals, street fairs, and other events. This is a new generation of the specialty truck that first rolled-out in 2019. It was developed in collaboration with Summit Truck Body.

The dual-use Class 5 diesel truck represents a savvy bid by Isuzu to capitalize on the continued growth of the craft beer industry in the U.S. Nationwide craft beer sales totaled about $29 billion in 2023, according to the Brewers Association.

“Our craft beer truck is indicative of the versatility of our vehicles for meeting the needs of niche markets," says Brian Tabel, assistant vice president of marketing at Isuzu Commercial Truck of America. "Isuzu is well-known for its diverse line-up of box trucks, sweepers, and dumps. Now, our craft beer truck is delivering both functionality and fun for a whole new market segment."

A Star Is Born

Image Courtesy of Isuzu Commercial Truck of America

Image Courtesy of Isuzu Commercial Truck of America

Isuzu’s craft beer truck owes its creation to a serendipitous meeting in the tasting room of Bottle Logic, a craft brewery in Anaheim, Calif. Tabel was enjoying a cold beer with some colleagues when Bob Vreeland, Brew Logic’s fleet manager and jack-of-all-trades, noticed their Isuzu-branded polo shirts. Bob struck-up a conversation with the Isuzu team about one of everyone’s favorite topics: trucks.

Vreeland and the Isuzu marketing crew, fueled by an assortment of draft beers, crystalized the idea for a customized Isuzu truck that could serve multiple purposes: beer deliveries on weekdays and events at night and on weekends. Bottle Logic collaborated with Isuzu on the design and build of a first-of-its-kind 16-foot refrigerated box truck for work and play. 

“We affectionately named the truck ‘Izzy’, and it has become the crown jewel of our fleet,” says Vreeland. “Izzy efficiently makes deliveries during the week and then easily transforms into a mobile draft station on weekends.”

Vreeland says that, in addition to the truck’s versatility, it offers a tight turning radius, powerful cooling capabilities, state-of-the-art safety features, and secure storage. Bottle Logic has put over 150,000 miles on the truck, making deliveries and attending events throughout southern California and beyond.

A Marriage of Form and Function

The dual-use Isuzu truck is an ingenious combination of utility and showmanship. It’s a "work truck" customized for the delivery and marketing needs of the craft brewing industry, which heavily focuses on customer experiences.

The concept for the craft beer truck is delightfully simple: Take Isuzu's popular low cab forward NRR diesel truck, mate it with a 16-foot refrigerated van body, then trick out the back with beer taps, pour station, rinse sink, and other accouterments to enable on-site beverage service. The result is a mobile bar and marketing vehicle all-in-one.

Isuzu and Summit have refined the truck’s design based on customer feedback. Key upgrades for the latest generation include a sleeker, reconfigured tap station – with eight pour locations sporting the Isuzu logo – and individual pressure gauges. A new dual gas system allows the taps to be tailored for different beverages requiring CO2 or nitrogen, while an adjacent "bomber door" provides convenient access to packaged beer inside the refrigerated van body.

Image Courtesy of Isuzu Commercial Truck of America

Image Courtesy of Isuzu Commercial Truck of America

Other updates aimed at improving the user experience include LED lighting, a retractable awning for shade, an integrated glass rinse sink – tied to a five-gallon water keg and gray water tank – and hinged storage boxes to stow gear. Quick-release latches enable a complete setup or teardown in 10 minutes or less. The new truck also features a 2,500-lb. Maxon TE-25L tuck-away liftgate with side steps. It’s cooled with a Thermo King 690R reefer with electric standby.

“Innovation is at the heart of the design,” says Ted Croce, president of Summit Truck Body. “We were relentless in challenging ourselves to think about the customer’s interaction at every turn. We consulted with industry veterans who helped us put a laser focus on our engineering efforts. The goal was to design a product that would be exciting for the user – adding value through the features that make serving their craft products the highlight of the experience.”

Tabel adds that while the truck was first introduced for small brewers and brewpubs, it is also being used by casinos, event rental companies, and other businesses looking to attract customers or clients with free-flowing taps that can serve any type of carbonated beverage.

“The truck's unique design tends to draw a crowd wherever it goes,” he says, “offering eye-catching promotional possibilities for wrapped graphics and branding.”

More Than Just a Work Truck

For Isuzu, which has long dominated the low cab forward truck market in the U.S., the craft beer truck also helps showcase the maneuverability and city-friendly footprint of its NRR diesel chassis. The 19,500-pound gross vehicle weight truck offers a substantial 6,000-pound payload rating along with Isuzu's famously durable 5.2-liter, I4 turbocharged diesel engine.

Image Courtesy of Isuzu Commercial Truck of America

Image Courtesy of Isuzu Commercial Truck of America

The low cab forward configuration, with its panoramic windshield and position over the engine, enables drivers to see ground obstacles just 8 feet ahead. The truck is well-suited for tight navigation in urban environments where many craft breweries operate. Looking ahead, customers will also have the option of a craft beer version of Isuzu’s new electric truck, the NRR EV.

“We’ve had a steady stream of inquiries about the Ultimate Craft Beer Truck from breweries, beverage companies, and casinos,” says Tabel. “The upgraded 2024 model, with its host of refinements, demonstrates our commitment to providing customizable solutions for every industry sector. The new design and versatile tap system makes delivering and serving beer – and other beverages – fun and easy."

Learn more about Isuzu’s Ultimate Craft Beer Truck at