Heath and Molly Eric of Rumsey, husband and wife and co-owners of the concert management company The Eric Group, have been able to make a stamp on the entertainment scene, taking on clients and organizations like the Beaver Dam Amphitheater, Friday After 5 and the City of Owensboro and getting to work with acts such as The Beach Boys and the late John Prine.
But in 2019, they expanded into another business venture when they founded Hoppy Molly, LLC, a mobile alcohol beverage entity, as a “solution to a problem.”
“We were booking these national events, and beer sales are often a large component of concerts,” Molly Eric said. “A lot of these clients, city entities — whoever it was — didn’t really want to deal with the alcohol sales. Either they didn’t want to deal with it or they couldn’t deal with it; just for a lack of wanting to deal with the legal aspect, the licensing, all of these insurance and training staff.”
Molly Eric said she and Heath Eric thought it would be something that they would be good at organizing and could also help benefit them and boost their customer service they already established with The Eric Group.
“We decided to start Hoppy Molly as a solution to that problem to be able to serve the patrons of our clients’ alcoholic events in a safe and efficient way,” Molly Eric said.
In the first year of operation in 2019, they used tents equipped with coolers and tables ready to serve event attendees, Molly Eric said.
But it was during the height of COVID-19 that the Erics began their “covid project,” purchasing a brand-new cargo trailer in which to operate the business.
“The trailer was another solution to a problem,” Heath Eric said. “In 2019, (the business) took off like wildfire and we quickly did shows (for) Chris Knight, Vanilla Ice, we served at John Prine’s ‘A Night in Paradise’ … and we realized we were spending a lot of time setting up tents and coolers. So when covid hit, we needed a project to do.”
The Erics, their employees and personal friend Jon Hudson worked on customizing the trailer in the front yard of their Rumsey home for about three months.
The name itself comes from Molly Eric’s namesake, while also having some personal ties on Heath Eric’s side of the family.
“Heath’s granddad’s nickname was Hoppy and was really Heath’s inspiration and guiding light,” Molly Eric said. “It just sort of fit.”
“It was a magical moment when Molly said it,” Heath Eric said. “It made sense from a business perspective and then it gave us the warm fuzzies too, because of that deep meaning as well.”
One of the main goals with the business is having quantity on hand for patrons.
“At any given time, we can have four large dealership commercial coolers that can hold multiple cases of beer,” Molly Eric said. “You can have enough beer at one time to serve probably 2,000 to 3,000 people, just with one load.”
The Erics focus on efficiency and speed, with the trailer having the capacity to run six point-of-sale lines — serving people from both the front and the back. There is also an office area up front to help with managing the money coming in.
The Hoppy Molly staff are also trained through Server Training in Alcohol Regulations (STAR) with the state’s Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC).
“Everybody (on staff) is super friendly, and the whole idea is just to serve that beer as quickly as possible,” Molly Eric said, “because if you come to an event or you are putting on an event, you don’t want people standing in line waiting for beer for 20 minutes. We don’t even want people standing in line for 10 minutes.
“We move it along and we do it in a safe, effective way. We’re checking IDs, we’re making sure everybody’s doing what they’re supposed to be doing.”
It also comes equipped with an air conditioning unit, 50 amp power service, LED lighting, workstations for making specialty drinks and more.
“It is totally self-contained,” Molly Eric said.
Molly Eric said Hoppy Molly has been a benefit to both the customers coming to purchase beverages and the clients they serve with The Eric Group.
“We handle everything. We do all the licensing, all the insurance, all of the legal stuff that they don’t ever have to worry about,” she said. “People are trained, they know it’s going to be done well, they know it’s going to be done legally. … But then also from the customer side, it’s received really well because our beer’s always cold, our staff is super friendly and everybody knows what they’re doing.”
Since its inception, Hoppy Molly has served groups from private parties of 500 people to festivals reaching over 10,000 attendees.
One of the local staple events has been at Friday After 5, where Heath Eric said they were able to sell out when country musician Coffey Anderson performed at the summer entertainment series.
The Erics also keep the patrons entertained and put out cornhole boards and drape decorative lights on the trailer for a more laid-back appeal.
“It’s the vibe,” Molly Eric said. “When you come to the Hoppy Molly trailer, you’re not just coming to buy beer.”
The Erics say they are in talks with a few local brewers to have their own branded Hoppy Molly summer pale ale.
“If you back up even more and look at the big picture of the overall fan experience of an event, one thing that we discuss is that we really work hard to (hit the mark) at every event (and) to be exceptional,” Heath Eric said. “If we can guarantee that fans can get their beverages and have a good experience at an event, it’s good for everyone involved.”