If you were ever involved with Cub Scouts, chances are you had the Pinewood Derby experience wherein you built your own miniature car, painted it and raced it against other Scouts in your region.
My car didn’t win a thing, but being involved in an actual race was quite a thrill. Hey, I was 9. And if you share a similar childhood memory, Akasha Brewing has just the thing: the Pintwood Derby, which will happen Sunday, Jan. 24.
Just imagine your childhood Pinewood Derby, but with craft beer. Not bad, eh?
Here’s how it works: Any local business, club or organization can sponsor a car in the Akasha Pintwood Derby for a mere $20. The sponsor then builds and decorates its own car from a kit supplied by Akasha, and the top three finishers receive monetary donations for a charity of their choosing based on the total amount of the entry fees. Winners also get a commemorative trophy.
The idea for Pintwood Derby came from Paul Young’s own experience with Scouts.
“I thought this would be a fun idea for local businesses,” says Young, who coordinates events for Askasha. “I wanted to do a twist on an old concept.”
Akasha is teaming up with Louisville Independent Business Alliance (LIBA) for the derby, which Young hopes will become an annual event. In addition, expect at least one, maybe two, food trucks, and possibly guest beers from other local breweries such as Monnik Beer Co. Young has been organizing special events on Sundays at Akasha, from local brewing history to game nights to movie screenings.
“That little pocket of NuLu is not very active on Sundays, so we wanted to do something to help draw people over to us,” he says.
Competitors for each heat will be randomly drawn, with double elimination, and races will continue in elimination fashion until the top three remain. Donation prizes will be 50 percent of entry fees for first place, 30 percent for second place and 20 percent for third place.
The entry deadline is Friday, Jan. 15, and teams are responsible for bringing their own cars to the Pintwood Derby. Teams may design their cars however they like, but each car’s weight must not exceed 5 ounces, the overall width of the car should not exceed 2¾ inches, and the overall length of the car should not exceed 7 inches (they must be able to fit on a standard Pinewood Derby track).
As far as modifications, entrants can modify as much or as little as they want. The Pinewood Derby car kits come race-ready other than paint and/or decals. Of course, there are ways to make the cars faster, if an organization wants to get competitive.
“I think it’s more about making the car part of the organization’s identity,” Young says. “If they want to do faster cars, there are probably people they could talk to in engineering who might know more about the aerodynamics. I think the main focus is to have fun and make a car that is identifiable to their organization; really, beyond that, people can shape it however they like it.”
Young, who previously owned and operated My Old Kentucky Home Brew, now works at both Akasha and Monnik. He wanted to remain active in the local beer scene, and he’s carved out a new niche.
“I spent seven years selling hypothetical beer, so it’s really nice to be able to say, ‘Here, taste this,’” he says.
Akasha is located at 909 E. Market St. in NuLu; doors will open at 1 p.m. on the 24th, with races beginning at 2 p.m. To enter or for more information, contact Young at [email protected]. Entries should include the following information: business, club or organization name; street address (for car kit delivery); phone number; email address, and charity.