CHAMBERSBURG – Last Saturday, customers at the Roy-Pitz Beer Stube (140 N. Third St.) had the delight of being served drinks from their new 12-tap, 14-keg, 18-wheel beer tanker, which was onsite from 11:30-5.
The behemoth was designed and built by Chambersburg’s own Hauk Designs (technically they’re in New Franklin, but we’ll take it).
“The ’46 Chevy COE was pretty rough, but it was in a barn about an hour and a half above Pittsburgh,” said Hauk. “Stuff from the 40s is usually pretty far gone, so it was actually pretty good for the year.”
“The diesel fuel tank had its dents and rust and all that good stuff, but it was solid, and it would make a good starting point for cutting it up and turning it into a tanker truck.”
The finished tanker is equipped with a 5.9 Cummins diesel power plant with compound turbos, a CA Conversions Allison transmission, RareParts steering, Fox shocks, five Chevy axles linked up with BDS suspension, and a Ridetech air ride system.
They welded a new container into the old tank, which can be accessed through three hinged lids at the top. This container-within-a-tank holds 14 kegs of beer leading to hookups and taps for 12 kegs at a time with additional space for can storage.
Getting that much beer to the gig is impressive, but how do they keep it cool on hot, sunny days?
“It has a chiller inside that chills the storage compartment down to 32 degrees,” said Hauck. “That keeps the kegs cold. A Micro Matic glycol system keeps the lines cold all the way to the taps.”
The first thing you notice about the beer tanker is its size. It’s a “true 18-wheeler” with 20” Detroit Steel wheels (copper plated) and 35” Pit Bull tires on the back.
But the longer you look, the more you will see.
Every part of it from the headlights to the large “Hauk” badge on the back of the tank has been painstakingly designed.
“The entire body was treated to a copper patina finish – a product called Copper F/X,” said Hauck, “and then it was cleared with a lacquer clear.”
Hauk added: “The large emblems and detail pieces that you see all over it were machined out of solid blocks of aluminum, and then they were hand-engraved by my buddy Hernan [D’Aloia] out of California. He has a company called Engrave It! He flew out for a couple of weeks and engraved all of the pieces before we got them copper plated.”
In a world that is becoming increasingly thirsty for “real-world” experiences and “Instagram-able” moments, the beer tanker hits the spot. When it pulls up, the cameras come out.
Hauk is obviously good at customizing vehicles (a bit of an understatement here), but what allows him to take it to the next level is that he is also a gifted storyteller.
“The premise of the ‘Hauk Machines’ TV show is that we build for companies” – rather than consumers – “with the idea that we can tell the company’s story and then build them a vehicle that’s worthy of their name” – as opposed to just slapping a logo on the side of a van.
When people are posting pictures of the beer tanker on social media, what they’re really talking about is Roy-Pitz and Hauk Designs.
To create a tanker that felt like a natural extension of the stube, Hauk drew from his 14-year friendship with Roy-Pitz co-founder Jessie Rotz.
When he’s not creating content-friendly moments for his customers, he is making them for his sponsors on “Hauk Machines.”
“The show is like ‘Orange County Choppers’ for jeeps, trucks, off-road vehicles – that sort of thing,” said Hauk of the show.
“It’s all about the vehicle build. Then we chop the TV show up into little segments and then we sell it to our corporate sponsors as social media content. We make revenue both ways doing that. People consume TV so differently, so by chopping it up into those four or five-minute episodes, it can go out every week on social media, and our brands can share that with everybody and tell that story.”
For example, here is a clip of Hauk working on the suspension system for COE cab that will become the Roy-Pitz beer tanker. The segment features Bilststein products, and it has been branded with their logo accordingly. In this case, the clip has been shared by Bilstein.
Bilstein, Roy-Pitz, Hauk Designs, “Hauk Machines” and Amazon Prime all derive value from this same piece of content as if it was a giant tank with multiple taps.
Speaking of giant tanks with multiple taps:
The Roy-Pitz/Hauk Designs tanker is big. It’s beautiful. It serves beer.
But how does it drive?
“You know, it’s actually been pretty smooth to drive – surprisingly,” said Hauk. “It’s very different than anything else I’ve ever driven before, but we had to make it so that it had enough power and flexibility to hold a lot of beer and a lot of weight. A keg of beer is very, very heavy, and you have 14 kegs of beer in there. We can control the braking system and the ride so it’s still smooth so the beer can arrive non-jostled and it’s ready to go.”
[Main image caption: Customers were served drinks from the Roy-Pitz/Hauk Designs beer tanker at the Roy-Pitz Beer Stube in Chambersburg on Saturday from 11:30-5.]