STATESVILLE, N.C. (QUEEN CITY NEWS) — A new firetruck in Statesville won’t be putting out fires anytime soon. In fact, it’s not even part of the fire department.
A brewery in town has manufactured its own fire engine to help quench the thirst of beer enthusiasts.
The owner of Red Buffalo Brewing Company in Downtown Statesville wanted to expand his business without buying another brick-and-mortar location. After seeing a firetruck converted into a food truck at a festival, an idea came to mind, why not use a fire truck to pour beer?
By law, you don’t have to pull over for the firetruck in Statesville, but perhaps you’ll want to. When the red lights are flashing, the beer is ready to pour.
“People will say you’re crazy, but then they love it. So it’s good crazy,” said the owner of Red Buffalo Brewing Company, Joe Bondi.
You could say Bondi went with his gut when he first came up with the firetruck idea.
“Look at it. You gotta have a beer out of it right,” said Bondi.
The idea helped make his business mobile, reaching customers at local parades and festivals.
“It’s fun. I mean everyone little girl or little boy, you want to be a firefighter, Most of us don’t become one……or you can have a midlife crisis and people buy convertibles, or they buy a firetruck,” said Bondi.
The brewery firetruck looks and sounds a bit different as it comes from a country where Bondi lived in for 8 years.
“It’s a 1992 Daihatsu Hijet,” said Bondi.
It’s a three-cylinder truck that is made, sold and used in Japan. The lights and siren are labeled in Japanese and the driver sits on the left.
“You get used to it and even though it has been a long time since I lived there, shifting with the left hand came right back to me so it’s a lot of fun,” said Bondi.
The Statesville community is having a lot of fun with the truck as well. When it’s parked outside the brewery passing drivers take pictures. That includes even the real men and women from the Statesville Fire Department.
“They actually had a little meeting here and then they brought their big truck here too. When you see the scale you see how small this truck actually is,” said Bondi.
A pint-size truck, pouring out pints of beer, but also serving a more important purpose.
“The best part of it is putting smiles on people’s faces. That’s the best. Doesn’t get any better than that,” said Bondi.
The firetruck was bought online from someone selling it in Tennessee. It just got on the road last month and will serve up beer at its second event on Friday evening, which is the Downtown Statesville Friday after Five concert series.