Parallel 49 Brewery is a true home grown Vancouver success story. They are receiving national exposure through a feature case study by Bell Mobility as an innovative company that has embraced mobile technology and solutions to help become a leader and pioneer in the burgeoning craft brewery market. Founded just over 4 years ago, the Parallel 49 story is truly inspiring. It started with the vision of friends and their love of craft beer and has evolved into a true success story with Parallel 49 being the second largest craft brewery located within the boundaries of the city of Vancouver. The company has created a unique brand, and grown at a dizzying pace.
We are proud that Parallel 49 has been a valued Preston Mobility and Bell Client for almost 4 years, and we wanted to have Michael Tod, who is a founding Partner and Parallel 49’s Director of Sales, share their inspiring story. Michael was kind enough sit down with me for a Q&A.
BP: You have a great success story Michael. Can you share how Parallel 49 got started?
MT: Absolutely. Myself, my long-time buddy Scott Venema, and Grahamme With, a well-known home brewer, teamed up with Nick Paladino, Anthony Frustagli and Mike Sleeman who were the owners of St. Augustine’s restaurant - a mecca for craft brew enthusiasts in Vancouver. The six of us shared a love of craft beer, and came together to launch Parallel 49 just over 4 years ago, actually it’s been 4 ½ years. We did not expect to have the success we have had. It has been amazing and we are very grateful.
BP: How about your mission. What are your key drivers and what are you known most for?
MT: It doesn’t hurt that we all really love craft beer. We are passionate about making great, unique beers without sacrificing quality. Our commitment from day one has been to always provide a unique experience for beer drinkers. We do not waver from that. I’d say we are most well-known for great beer and fun, unique branding that is artistic and a little edgy.
BP: You have grown at an incredible pace. What do you attribute that to?
MT: I think it goes back to what I just said about loving beer and being committed to a unique experience for beer drinkers. There are a lot of choices out there for people when it comes to beer, so I think it helps when you are passionate about your industry and product, it comes through in the result and experience. We actually didn’t have a lot of capital when we started, so we relied on cool, edgy marketing and branding. That got some attention, made us stand out, and got people to try our beer. We have grown very fast organically. We’ve exceed our forecasts every year, and I believe that’s because we deliver on a great tasting product, and our promise of a quality, unique experience for beer drinkers. If you ever have the opportunity to come by our tasting room on Triumph Street in East Vancouver, you will see exactly what I mean. We are our brand.
BP: I know first-hand what you are saying. Our team still raves about the fun they had when we did a Tour and Tasting event at your facility.
BP: Are you able to share any specifics on your growth rate without disclosing anything too confidential?
MT: Almost out of the gate things took off, and we have been on constant growth and expansion mode. I’d say over 40% growth per year. We’ve moved from one facility to now occupying almost a city block covering buildings on both sides of our alley. You would have a good sense too Blake, as we have been calling Preston Mobility regularly to get phones and tablets for all the new employees we have added.
BP: That is impressive. Those are growth rates you typically only hear coming from tech companies. So what is your most popular beer? Was there one that put you on the map?
MT: Our current top seller is our Gypsy Tears Ruby Ale. This beer took off out of the gate for us due to the lack of Red Ales in the BC marketplace at the time.
BP: Congratulations on being selected by Bell for a case study and video which is being launched nationally. How did that come about?
MT: When we launched, we were looking to get wireless phones for the company. One of our new employees had joined us from Granville Island Brewery, who was a Preston Mobility Client. He raved about the service, support and the savings they were getting from Preston Mobility and Bell. He introduced us to Kris Johnson at Preston Mobility, who was the account manager for Granville Island. Kris really understood our business and needs and was able to put together a corporate plan for our wireless that actually saved us around 30%. We were sold, and it has been a great partnership ever since. You guys at Preston Mobility brought our story to the attention of Bell, and they were really interested. Apparently the marketing team at Bell really loves craft beer too. J
BP: You are a pretty innovative Brewery. What wireless solutions have you implemented?
MT: Like most businesses, we are about being connected all the time. There are a lot of moving pieces in the brewery business. It’s actually a very complex business, people would be surprised how sophisticated and technical a brewery operation can be. Aside from nailing a fantastic product, we have to be dialed in on quality control, inventory management, deliver scheduling and logistics, customer service and order fulfillment. There’s a lot going on. Your team at Preston Mobility has been great in understanding our business, and recommending and implementing solutions that help improve our operations and communications. We’ve grown by a multiple of 7-8x, and we could not have efficiently managed that growth without systems, technology and some of the solutions you guys at Preston have helped us implement.
BP: Can you be more specific?
MT: Sure. Aside from iPhones, and the rugged Sonim phones for our drivers, we use tablets in the field for email, accessing our client account and CRM system, and show customers new marketing designs, promotions, POS displays and tap handles. Preston also helped us deploy Bell’s Push-to-Talk solution which ties into our dispatch so we can track delivery trucks real-time and be able to respond to urgent customer orders. It could have been a day or two to fulfill orders previously as we have specific routes. The video Bell did actually showcases us using Push-to-Talk, it’s an invaluable solution
BP: Obviously we know each other Michael, but what would you say to others about your experience with Preston Mobility. In your words.
MT: You guys deliver on what you promise. Like us, you are committed to a customer-first philosophy, which may be one of the reasons we have enjoyed such a great relationship, and get along so well. The other thing I would say, is that you guys are proactive. You take the time to look at our account and make sure it is optimized for our needs, and we are on the right plans. You make recommendations and adjustments on our plans to help us save money. I never have to question or worry my wireless, which is great peace of mind. You guys have our back and our best interest in mind. The other thing I would point out is your service model. If I need anything, I just call Kris or your Managed Services team. Billing issues, replacement or loaner phones, roaming add-ons, technical support. I just call you guys and you handle it. It saves us a lot of time.
BP: Well thank you for taking the time to chat and share your inspiring story. And good luck this weekend at the Whistler Beer Festival. You guys won the Best of the Fest at Whistler last year, good luck again this year!
MT: Thanks Blake. Cheers.
View the Parallel 49 Case Study Video by Bell Mobility Below:
See some behind the scenes pictures of Parallel 49
See Preston Mobility album at the Whistler Beer Festival!
Blake Ponuick is Preston Mobility’s COO and CMO
For more information on Preston Mobility services or a no obligation wireless evaluation for your company, visit www.prestonmobility.com
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