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What It Costs to Build A Tap Truck

Classic Taps Tap Truck

What It Costs to Build A Tap Truck: Introduction

In the world of event planning especially here in Nashville, creating a memorable experience often hinges on the finer details. One such detail that has been making waves in recent years is the tap truck like Classic Taps. A tap truck is a mobile beverage dispenser that adds a touch of sophistication and novelty to any gathering. At Classic Taps, we not only own and operate our tap truck here in Nashville, Tennessee but also believe in sharing valuable insights with others interested in creating their own.

Building a tap truck is not as easy as it seems. It took us a few tries and iterations of our tap truck magnolia before we achieved the perfect pour. In this blog, we'll delve deep into the intricacies and costs associated with building a tap truck, providing a step-by-step guide to help you turn your vehicle into a captivating focal point for your next celebration.

The Foundation: Selecting the Right Truck

To embark on the journey of building your tap truck, the first crucial step is choosing the right base vehicle. There's more that goes into this step than just picking a classic truck that catches the eye. You need to think about the layout of your beer system, what type of cooling system you will use to keep your beer cold, and whether the truck will be enclosed or open. For Classic Taps we chose a classic 1966 GMC pickup. This allowed us more than enough space in the bed to run a jumper box system and hold four kegs at a time. Most tap trucks will choose either a pickup truck, an enclosed panel truck, or an old-school VW bus. All these choices offer ample space to design your draft system. The cost of the truck forms a significant portion of your overall budget and depends on factors such as make, model, and condition. On average, anticipate spending between $20,000 and $40,000 for a suitable truck that aligns with your vision. You may be able to find a suitable vessel for less than $20,000 but some elbow grease and design knowledge will be needed.

Customization and Design: Tailoring Your Truck to Suit Your Style

Once you have your base truck secured, the next phase involves customization and design. Classic Taps takes pride in offering guidance on design considerations and collaborating with other tap truck owners to help bring their unique vision to life. The cost of customization varies widely, influenced by factors such as the intricacy of the design, the materials used, and the overall aesthetic appeal.

Budgeting between $5,000 and $15,000 will ensure your tap truck reflects your style and stands out at any event. Depending on the condition of your truck, you may be able to skip this step. However, if you pull a classic truck out of a barn, it will take quite a few dollars to get it not only looking great but running great as well.

Tapping Into Functionality: Dispensing Systems and Equipment

At the heart of every tap truck lies its dispensing system – a crucial element that determines the efficiency and effectiveness of your mobile beverage service. The costs associated with the dispensing system are influenced by the number of taps, the types of beverages you plan to serve, and the level of automation desired. For a tap truck capable of serving both alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks, allocate a budget ranging from $3,000 to $10,000 for a state-of-the-art dispensing system. It's important to remember, if you plan to serve wine and still cocktails, juices, and other non-carbonated beverages you will need a nitrogen system.

Many tap trucks run a jumper or jockey box system. This is a cooler with stainless steel coils inside that will chill the beer as it flows through the coils. You will also need to keep your kegs cold for high-quality pours. We would recommend keg jackets to insulate your kegs as they are in the truck. Always keep your kegs as cold as possible leading up to the event. It may be wise to invest in a fridge that can fit a number of keg sizes.

Upon a cooling system, you will need to buy the rest of the draft system. This will require a C02 tank, air lines, keg couplers, beer lines, faucets, and faucet shanks. The guys over at Cold Break have full kits that will have you up and running in no time.

Quality Matters: Choosing Your Beverages Wisely

The type and quality of beverages you decide to serve play a significant role in the overall cost of your tap truck project. Classic Taps assists clients in curating a beverage selection that aligns with the theme and preferences of the event. For most events, your clients will request the drinks their guests will most likely serve.

If you are a dry hire, we would recommend developing a relationship with a local liquor store or beverage supplier. If you are able to acquire a beer license or liquor license, you will be able to purchase directly from a distributor and sell directly to your customers. Note! This will vary by state and sometimes city!

Logistics and Licensing: Navigating Legal Requirements

The operation of a tap truck involves navigating a complex landscape of legal requirements, including licensing and permits. Classic Taps provides valuable insights into the legal aspects, assisting you in obtaining the necessary permits for a seamless and worry-free event. Budget between $1,000 and $5,000 for licensing and permits, with costs varying based on your location and the specific regulations governing mobile beverage service.

Marketing and Branding: Making Your Tap Truck Stand Out

To ensure your tap truck becomes a standout feature at any event, investing in marketing and branding is essential. Classic Taps offers customizable branding solutions, providing guidance on promoting your brand effectively. Allocate a budget of around $2,000 to $5,000 for branding and marketing materials, including signage, decals, and promotional materials that will leave a lasting impression on your audience.

If $2,000-$5,000 is more than you have to spend on marketing, don't worry, you can absolutely start with simple magnetic signs on your truck and a small social media ad to get the word out. If you are in a metropolitan area with a large competitor, it may take the amount mentioned above a month or even more to break through the search engines and start ranking a Google.


In conclusion, building your tap truck is a rewarding yet intricate process that demands careful planning and investment. Classic Taps is not just a tap truck provider; we are your partner in creating an immersive and unforgettable beverage experience. While costs can vary based on customization options and features, our commitment to quality and customer satisfaction remains unwavering.

When you decide to embark on the journey of building your tap truck, you're not just investing in a vehicle; you're investing in a unique and memorable event experience. Connect with Classic Taps today for insights, guidance, and support to transform your truck into a captivating centerpiece at your next celebration. If you have any questions please do not hesitate to reach out.

Cheers to crafting moments that last a lifetime in your very own tap truck

Written By Michael Elliott November 10th, 2023

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