As founder of Motley Brews—the 6-year-old entity bringing back the Great Vegas Festival of Beer for its largest edition ever in April—Brian Chapin is widely known as the beer guy. But it turns out satiating the Southwest’s appetite for tasty craft suds is just one of Chapin’s skills and passions.
Originally from Cinnaminson Township, New Jersey, Chapin attended West Point, worked in engineering and real estate and has lived in Korea, Missouri and Arizona. “I grew up in a musical family. We all sang and played instruments, and we were athletic and took our studies seriously,” he says. “I have a lot of different interests.”
His musicality might have planted the original seed for his current calling. In high school, he teamed with some friends and “approached a restaurant and convinced them to hire us as singing waiters,” he says. “We would serve food and just break out in song now and again. Something clicked then, though I might not have known it, that we were entertaining but kind of freestyling what we wanted to do. There was a kind of rush to it, seeing the looks on people’s faces.”
You can witness those same expressions of enjoyment on the faces of the thousands who attend Motley Brews events. Chapin founded the company in 2011 after landing in Las Vegas a few years earlier while working for a home builder. He had developed a passion exploring the craft-beer scene in Phoenix and saw some space to help build something special in Vegas, the results of which will be on display at the Downtown festival—which expands to two days for the first time this year, April 7 and 8.
“I realized beer can be a portal into local culture,” Chapin says. “Back in 2010, it was like nobody even knew about craft beer. There weren’t many events like this.”
In recent years, Motley has expanded its footprint to Southern California, and Chapin is thinking even bigger. Production Theory, sort of the parent company of Motley Brews, is set to expand its reach, too, with some larger-scale events. Next up: the Mint 400, the classic desert off-road race, which will receive a premium F&B event upgrade March 1-5.
“We’re seeing the need for brands outside our own that want someone to help provide extraordinary experiences for their consumers,” Chapin says. “We’re looking to be that experiential arm for brands in the region while also looking to create our own events.”