Guest post by Ken Keller
ENKI Brewing, a small micro-brewery located in Victoria, Minnesota on the outskirts of Minneapolis, made their first batch of beer in June, 2013. ENKI Brewing is now moving from their present 3,000 square foot brewery to a larger 46,000 square foot building with loading docks. ENKI Brewing has been developing a growing customer base, making the move to a larger facility necessary.
John Hayes, President and co-founder of ENKI Brewing, explains. “Since 2013 we’ve been producing 20 barrel batches of beer from our brewhouse and three fermenters, delivering it to local bars, restaurants and liquor stores. We have since tripled our fermenter capacity to meet the growing demand for our beers.”
Many breweries have a wholesale distributor that picks up their beer, stores and delivers it to retail outlets. ENKI Brewing self-delivers. “We have been able to grow while retaining our distribution rights,” John explains. “We feel that there is a strategic, competitive advantage to self-deliver because it keeps us in close contact with the retailers and the end customer. A wholesale distributor just cannot devote the same amount of time and care to our products as we do.”
“The challenge for self-distributors is that we have to make all these stops around town. It is a lot of work. So we needed a vehicle that accommodated our ability to self-distribute. That’s why we went with the Ford Transit and the National Fleet Products swivel loading ramp,” John said. “Our primary delivery vehicle is an insulated Ford high-roof Transit van, upfitted with a cooler and the National Fleet Products Swivel Loading Ramp. We use it for hauling kegs and cases to our 250 local accounts.”
The National Fleet Products Swivel Loading Ramp is a spring assist ramp with a unique 180 degree external & internal swivel. “The swivel loading ramp is a simple and elegant solution,” John comments. “The folding, 8-foot ramp resides within the interior of the van. If we don’t want to use the ramp we can swing it out and have direct and complete access to the back of the van.”
“One of the reasons we got the National Fleet Products ramp is that it really saves time,” John said. “Since we are delivering more and more kegs, we need that time. The result is our guys do not feel rushed and are less prone to knocking up the interior of the van. I want to keep our van in good condition, so this ramp is one of the tools that help us do that.”
“The National Fleet Products ramp can also go up to the height of loading docks, as opposed to going down to ground level. This is a key advantage for us,” John explained. “Some of the places we deliver have high loading docks. Before we had this ramp we had to pull the keg off the van, put it on a dolly and then run it up stairs. This was slow and back-breaking. Each keg weighs 165 pounds, so this ramp saves our peoples’ backs.”
ENKI Brewing is a well-managed, highly organized enterprise. The company takes its name from ENKI, the ancient Sumerian god of flowing water. ENKI brought fresh waters to the land, prompting the start of agriculture and quickly followed by the discovery of beer. ENKI Brewing is now rolling off more and more kegs of their fine beer with the help of the National Fleet Products Swivel Loading Ramp. ENKI Brewing’s mission is making the world a friendlier place by encouraging people to share a beer together. They are making lots of new friends and quite a name for themselves along the way.
To check out ENKI Brewing, go to: www.enkibrewing.com. To see National Fleet Product’s complete offerings, visit their website at: www.nationalfleetproducts.com.