Gary Bogoff, president and cofounder of Berkshire Brewing Company, and his partner had a simple motivation for starting a microbrewery in 1994. “We really loved beer,” he says, “and we wanted to do everything ourselves.” Since then, Berkshire Brewing has grown into a regional brewery serving five New England states and employing more than 60, and the Freightliner Sprinter is a linchpin in its plans for continued, controlled growth.
Bogoff describes his growth strategy as being a pebble in the center of a pond. “We started out wanting to be a local western Massachusetts brewery and were most concerned with saturation in our local area and building the brand by word of mouth,” he explains. Five years ago, Berkshire Brewing opened a satellite warehouse in central Massachusetts, and that opened up the Boston market.
“Sprinter is a vehicle that thinks outside the box, like us. . . it’s versatile and lets you work your way.”
“Stealth delivery” vehicles
Conventional trucks were too awkward to get around Boston’s narrow, twisting streets, and double-parked behemoths were “ticket magnets, Bogoff says. “The Sprinter is perfect for our ‘stealth delivery’ strategy there. We sneak in and out where the big trucks can’t, and its best-in-class payload accommodates a full day’s work.” The fuel efficiency of Sprinter’s BlueTEC diesel engine was an important factor in Bogoff’s purchase decision; comfort and drivability were added bonuses. “I’ve been driving trucks my whole life, and I’ve never been in a nicer utility vehicle,” he says.
Berkshire Brewing has two Freightliner Sprinter Model 3500 Cargo Vans with dual rear wheels and 144-inch wheelbase, and it is adding a third. The vans are customized with heavily insulated interior walls to keep the brewery’s unfiltered, unpasteurized, preservative-free beer chilled, floors are covered with diamond-plate to handle the kegs that account for 60 percent of sales, a small slide off the side door helps with loading and unloading, and there is custom shelving in the cargo area. “Sprinter is a vehicle that thinks outside the box, like us,” Bogoff says. “It’s set up for hard work, and it’s versatile and lets you work your way. We are growing, and there are going to be more Sprinters in our future.”