When Willow attends wedding receptions, she’s a favorite guest. She doesn’t dance, throw rice or declare mazel tov, but she does spark joy: Willow is mobile bar purveyor, The Tipsy Trotter’s inaugural trailer. The cedar wood paneling is decked out to match each event. Bartenders dispense drinks as varied as draft beer and elderberry spritzes from her window.
For The Tipsy Trotter founder and entrepreneur Krysten Strauser, Willow is the culmination of a vision she is dedicated to growing. Pinterest-perfect, The Tipsy Trotter offers a picturesque rolling barkeep that doubles as an Instagrammer’s dream. The allure, Strauser says, is the customizable experience it offers.
“I have an eye for detail and design,” says Strauser. “Whatever vision a client has, we try to make it happen.”
Often, that vision includes craft cocktail marvels Strauser perfects with fruit she selects from local farmers markets, and dehydrates, for garnish. Floral ice cubes add extra panache. Handmade juices, freshly pressed and locally sourced, take mixers to new heights. The trailer can, and does, dispense any type of beverage – it can even double as a stylish lemonade stand.
The delightful mobile bar concept seems a natural progression of Strauser’s background and experience. Willow is a nomadic concept and Strauser has moved more than 21 times. A former bartender who worked for Winghouse for nearly a decade, she understands the hospitality industry.
After having her son, Rylan, she found herself scrambling through the days with long hours at work and little family time. Being an entrepreneur seemed the logical choice: she comes from a family of them. It took planning her own wedding to really spark the mobile bar concept as a viable business venture. Both Strauser and her husband were struck by the lack of creative options and she began to brainstorm solutions.
“We looked at mobile photo booths and they were expensive,” she says. “Also, at that time, I was working at a catering company and it was refreshing to see how happy people are at weddings.”
The resulting vision was a bar that could travel anywhere – one that was anything but cookie-cutter. On any given day you might find Willow at a bar mitzvah, family reunion, corporate event or The Tipsy Trotter’s mainstay, nuptial celebration. The trailer’s customization was completed in January of 2019 and debuted at its first event a month afterward. Initial investment was around $28,000. Within four months, the company had amassed$40,000 in sales.
Two more trailers, Maybelle and Beatrice, will soon be available for scheduling. Each has unique stylistic elements to appeal to different clientele, like shiplap and a walk-in entrance. The Tipsy Trotter does not have a liquor license, as one requires a company to maintain a brick and mortar location. The Tipsy Trotter runs on wheels. Instead, Strauser and her team advise clients regarding drink supplies to purchase and see this as a positive attribute: unopened beverages can often be returned after the event.
Based out of Seminole, Willow (and her forthcoming sister trailers) will travel throughout the Tampa Bay area and surrounding counties. They’ll even make the hike to Central Florida and the first 60 miles traveled are included in the package price, which begins at around $1,000.
“The idea for the rolling bar service has been so well received,” says Strauser. “And my energy level is so high; I’m doing something that sparks my fire and I feel confident in it.” ♦
Follow Willow’s travels on Instagram at: @thetipsytrotter.