The trailer, priced at $150,000, may draw just a little attention in the parking lot.     Photo: Courtesy of Mark Ford

Birth of the Mobile Whiskey Trailer

Your picnic just got a serious upgrade.

Picnics are fun, but picnics with booze are better. And a picnic with booze where you don’t even have to sit on the ground? Well, that’s about as good as it gets. Lucky for us, taking your whisky to go is now easier than ever.

Several years ago, New York designer Brad Ford was tasked with building a custom dining setup for an AIDS fundraiser called Dining By Design. Each year the charity event showcases glamorous creations that design nerds peruse while munching on canapés. Ford mainly crafts posh residential interiors, but as an Arkansas native, he’d spent much of his youth tailgating at Razorback games. “And we camped a lot. I wanted to give both of those experiences an upgrade. I thought, what would be the ultimate traveling bar?”

And so the first mobile whiskey trailer was born. It’s essentially a portable bar, built from a Big Woody Teardrop Trailer plan that’s been modified to hold rack after rack of booze. Apart from carrying several bottles of whiskey and tens of glasses, there’s enough room inside to fit a few cases of liquor.

“I think something like this really creates an experience, which is something I think people really long for,” Ford says.

Executives at the whiskey brand Bulleit didn’t long for the experience of camping so much as they longed for their very own traveling bar. When marketing staffers laid eyes on Ford’s initial trailer they commissioned him to make a similar one for the brand, this time outfitted in wood paneling made from reclaimed whiskey barrels.

In 2012, Neiman Marcus picked up Ford's first trailer as an item in its holiday catalogue. “It was more of an aspirational item,” says Ford (meaning that no one was willing to drop $150,000 to buy it). It’s no longer available from Neiman Marcus but you can order one through Ford or through Moor and Giles, a leather goods company that represents him.

Ford isn’t quitting his day job anytime soon, though. The trailers are just a fun side hobby of his and available only on special order. But hey, if you’ve got an extra $150,000 he says owning one of these trailers is worth it—if nothing else, for the attention.

“When you pull up in one, people congregate around it. It really brings a smile to everyone’s face,” he says.

Whether those smiles are because of the trailer—or because it’s filled with booze, well, that’s hard to know.

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