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Meet Leah Milton and Kira Bouchard of Hike For Beer

Today we’d like to introduce you to Leah Milton and Kira Bouchard.

Leah and Kira, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
Our story started after a long day out on the trail in the Laguna Mountains in early 2016, when we found ourselves at the closest brewery rewarding ourselves with a few cold ones. This was a normal day for us, but we wanted to know: “why doesn’t everyone do this?”, and thus the original idea for Hike For Beer was born.

The idea further came to fruition when friends and family constantly asked us to take them on hiking and brewery adventures around the county after seeing our photos and hearing our stories. Many, trial runs (and beer tastings) later, Hike For Beer became a reality earlier this year.

We launched our online store in January and in April our official Hike For Beer San Diego Meet-Up group began. Earlier this month we purchased a passenger van that will allow us to share our passions with visitors and locals alike. Now our question is answered: everyone CAN do this with the help of Hike For Beer!

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
The evolution of Hike For Beer started almost effortlessly. People love exploring the outdoors and craft beer! Who doesn’t love an adventure guide and designated driver all in one?

However, balancing full-time jobs with becoming business owners has been quite a mountainous trail. It turns out that there is no handbook for turning your obsession with hiking and beer consumption into a profitable business (if you find one, send it over!).

We’ve had to train ourselves to become accountants, merchandisers, wholesale buyers, photographers, social media gurus and financial risk assessors.

Crafting unique Hike For Beer experiences also requires us to get out from behind our screens to test out our favorite trails as well as find new ones, plan them efficiently for weather, difficulty, distance to local breweries and travel time. We constantly ask ourselves: “Is this view pretty enough?” “Will someone loves this route as much as we do?” “What plant is that?” “Is there a bathroom?” “Where’s the water feature?” “Is there beer at the peak?”

On top of that, we must set aside time on the trail for ourselves so we don’t lose the connection to our passion and the reason we started Hike For Beer in the first place.

So let’s switch gears a bit and go into the Hike For Beer story. Tell us more about the business.
Hike For Beer is an adventure tourism company and community of nature and craft beer enthusiasts. We believe in doing business for better, therefore we are also a proud member of One Percent For The Planet which means that we take responsibility and give back to our planet by donating 1% of our annual sales to environmental organizations.

We have partnered with the National Forest Foundation to help them reach their goal of planting 50 million trees by 2023. The original Hike For Beer idea was to provide an all-inclusive experience for adventure-seekers to sneak away from the coast and into the wilderness. We plan group trips based on physical abilities, time constraints, nature expectations and beer preferences. Whether it’s getting lost through pine trees, cruising through lagoons or bouldering in the backcountry, we build an ideal trip for anyone thirsty for adventure.

For San Diego locals, we offer “Meet-Up Style” mid-week and weekend adventures around the county. We meet at the trailhead, summit, cheers and repeat next week. In just a few months, these local Meet-Ups have become a family of familiar faces and continue to grow as we gain new hikers each week.

When starting a business, there are no guarantees that it will be well-received or successful. Being able to overcome those fears (or just push past them) is worth every second when you have a group of sweaty hikers laughing over a few beers at the end of the day. That is the community we envisioned originally and what we continue to build as we expand Hike For Beer.

Has luck played a meaningful role in your life and business?
Good luck has definitely played a part in Hike For Beer!

Our infatuation for discovering new trails and tiny tap rooms has been supported by such a diverse audience, including beginners, backcountry experts, brewery owners as well as cider houses and beer bars…

We’ve also been lucky enough to partner with Adventure16, a local recreation retailer who shares our belief that the outdoors are best enjoyed with a cold pint.

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