I did a double-take when I saw this vehicle directly ahead of me, somewhere in Berkeley:
An ambulance? A beer-delivery van? Both, it turns out: it's the "am-brew-lance" operated by Iron Springs Pub & Brewery in Fairfax (West Marin County). Slogan: "Saving Lives, One Beer at a Time" (yes, another variation of the "Saving X, One Y at a Time" snowclone last noted in the 360 Vodka ad campaign).
I'm skeptical about the wisdom of connecting beer-drinking with life-saving, but I admit the concept made me laugh. I admire the cheeky "am-brew-lance" coinage and the way Iron Springs tells its story:
Since Iron Springs opened in 2004, we have always had our sights set on a beer delivery vehicle powered by our own waste vegetable oil. ... We kept our eyes peeled for the right van and, as more venues wanted our brew for their taps, the need for a devoted vehicle became stronger and then, as the sun broke through the fluffy clouds of another stellar fairfax day, we had our epiphany. While searching on craigslist for a diesel van, we discovered one that was also a retired ambulance. Sonoma county first purchased it in 1988, and recently auctioned it to an individual who then posted it on craigslist. We drove a couple of hours and spent the day testing the mechanics and electrical components, plenty of fun with all of the bells and whistles still in working order. Everything checked out and soon the deal was signed, and we began our own conversion process.
First stop: Diego Bros. Truck Repair in Larkspur. They performed a complete diagnostic test from bumper to bumper, tuned it up, changed the fluids and gave it their seal of approval. Next, we put on four new tires, gave it a paint job, and began the creative process of decal and design. It didn’t take long to come up with the name “Am-brew-lance” and next we altered the 'star of life' (found on all emergency vehicles, equivalent to the caduceus of medical personel [sic]) to include a tall pilsner glass full of beer. Slogans were flowing from us like the bubbly exlixir [sic] does from our taps...we narrowed it down to a few winners, and after West Coast Sign Works completed the project, the boys at Raw Energy were ready to install the vegetable oil system. This includes several fuel-heaters, filters, a state of the art fuel pump designed specifically for veggie oil fuel and custom regulated to fit our particular engine, plus some pressure and temperature gauges to monitor the veggie conversion components. Meanwhile, we devoted a closet inside the brewpub to storing and filtering our new fuel, which would be dispensed from the same reinforced containers that the virgin vegetable oil was first purchased in for cooking purposes. After the final adjustments and modifications (we had to change out the red emergency lenses to comply with state law) we had finally made this beautiful work of engineering and design into our maiden ship.
Overall, a nice blend of sincerity and whimsy, although "maiden ship" sounds odd to me: we speak of a "maiden voyage" and (rarely) a "maiden speech," but other maiden- forms seem strained.
By the way, while researching this post I came across another medico-alcoholic brand name: Caduceus Cellars, a winery in Cornville, Arizona (?!) owned by former rock singer/songwriter/producer Maynard James Keenan. I was amused as well by the name of Keenan's vineyard: Merkin. Keenan is either a closet Chaucerian or a fan of this best-forgotten film. Or maybe that's just the way he pronounces "American."