Jason McDaniel | Refrigerated Transporter

Isuzu upgrades ‘Ultimate Craft Beer Truck’

April 24, 2024
New design in collaboration with Summit Truck Bodies on display during Work Truck Week 2024 features versatile tap system, making delivering and serving beer ‘fun and easy.’

Isuzu Commercial Truck of America recently collaborated with Summit Truck Bodies to develop a new craft beer truck designed to capitalize on the ever-growing popularity of the craft beer industry, which recent studies show increased sales to pre-pandemic levels in 2023.

The partners showcased the truck, which debuted in 2019, during Work Truck Week 2024 in Indianapolis, Indiana, and again this week during the 2024 Craft Brewers Conference in Las Vegas.

Drinking a craft beer is a multi-faceted experience that encompasses taste, culture, and community, and Isuzu’s “Ultimate Craft Beer Truck” is a dual-purpose vehicle that connects all these facets, the company said. It gives craft breweries the ability to make their regular deliveries and promote their beer at live events, making it a “weekday workhorse and a weekend party machine.”

“Collaborating with Isuzu on this project has been really exciting,” Ted Croce, Summit president, said in a news release. “It has challenged us [Summit] to think about how we engineer our insulated body for a new market, make it exciting, and maximize the features and convenience for those serving from it.”

Craft breweries, casinos, and party rental companies have bought “a number” of these trucks for serving at events and promoting their businesses, Isuzu added. The truck’s unique design and features often draw the public’s interest and owners regularly deliver “show-and-tells” for the truck.

Shaun Skinner, president of Isuzu Commercial Truck of America, maintains the truck is a great delivery tool and marketing piece. “This has been one of the most intriguing products we have been behind,” he said. “Most people associate work trucks with box trucks, sweepers, and dumps, but the Ultimate Craft Beer Truck is synonymous with delivering fun. The customers that have bought them have enjoyed a lot of success, and we constantly get questions about the truck and if there’s one available.

“It remains an exciting product.”

Isuzu collaborated with Summit, a known body builder in the Pacific Northwest, to “brew up” the special vehicle.

The Ultimate Craft Beer Truck starts with a Class 5 (19,500-lb. GVWR) diesel-powered Isuzu NRR. The powerful 5.2-liter I4 turbocharged engine generates 215 horsepower and 452 lb.-ft. of torque. Its robust B10 durability rating of 375,000 miles is evidence of the engine’s long-term dependability. The Class 5 chassis provides plenty of payload for weekly deliveries and does not require a commercial driver’s license to operate, Isuzu reported.

The truck’s low-cab-forward design provides drivers a view of the ground as little as 8 ft. from the front of the truck, and the truck’s maneuverability makes navigating tight city quarters easier, something that is more challenging in a conventional cab.

Features include:

  • A 16-ft. Summit insulated body that is cooled with a Thermo King 690R with electric standby. The walls are made with compressed-foam panels that are durable and have an excellent R value. Inside, the smooth walls, keg-height e-track, and insulated aluminum floor provide space for kegs and crates while keeping product refrigerated. The electric standby provides flexibility in loading the truck in the evening for the next morning’s delivery, all while keeping the product cold.
  • A 2,500-lb. Maxon TE-25L tuck-away liftgate with side steps helps ease loading and unloading. Its capacity and platform are large enough for a loaded pallet jack.
  • Two toolboxes (one on each side) provide storage for the reefer power cord and event materials.
  • On the driver’s side, a 13-ft. power retractable awning provides shade on sunny days and when the sun starts setting, and LED lighting keeps the area below illuminated. 
  • The new tap system’s insert is redesigned to incorporate the Isuzu logo and a numbering system for the eight Perlick 650SS taps. It is taller than previous generations to accommodate larger tap handles, and it is deeper so the drip tray can catch the overpour. This also gives more room for pitchers and glasses. The drip tray incorporates a glass rinser that uses a 5-gallon Corny keg hooked to the system’s gas and drains to a 15-gallon grey water tank that can be dumped. All these features provide convenience for quick and easy setup, ease in serving, and simple teardown. The tap door is locked with two latches and the lights and awning are controlled with switches, allowing setup and teardown in 10 minutes.
  • Breweries can pour a larger variety of beverages thanks to the truck’s new dual-gas tap system, which lets servers pour with CO2 (Carbon Dioxide) or N2 (Nitrogen) simultaneously. With individual pressure gauges on each tap, users can dial in the right pressure for each beverage. And if the audience prefers a bomber or a can, the new body incorporates a “Bomber Door” for quick access to cold packaged beverages inside the refrigerated body.
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