Founded by Ken Grossman in the late 1970’s, Sierra Nevada Brewing Company has grown to become one of the largest domestic craft breweries in the United States. Growing at a steady rate since their inception, they found themselves in need of a better way for distributors to create and track orders.

Sarah Ferro, the Distributor Orders & Inventory Manager, started at Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. in 2003, and was witness to the ordering process through its transformation over the years. The system in place prior to M&I’s involvement was a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet, overseen by one person. As production ramped up, it became evident that they needed a new method of tracking orders. Out of this necessity came Hopline, a custom, web-based customer portal built by M&I. It’s used by distributors to place and track orders, and used internally by SNB to process and ship orders. Evolving over the years as the company has expanded, Hopline has become a critical system, managing all beer orders.

We live and die by the thing… We didn’t have any problem selling distributors on Hopline, it sold itself. It’s user-friendly, visually appealing, and intuitive. Sarah Ferro Distributor Orders & Inventory Manager

As SNB grew, the application was expanded, with more functionality added so employees could batch edit and process the increasing order volume with no problems. M&I Senior Consultant and CTO Tyler Smith has worked closely with SNB on Hopline over the years.

“The Hopline that exists now, eight years after we created the first version is significantly larger and more complex than the first version. We had to make sure that as it grew it retained that sense of cohesive purpose and ease of use.” –Tyler Smith, M&I

With SNB’s unique small batch style of brewing, Hopline’s real-time updates and order tracking features have made it an integral part of their sales model. When distributors log onto Hopline and place an order, the Sales Order Processing team works with them interactively to shape each order. Any one order might undergo many changes until it’s shipped out, and Hopline can not only accommodate that, but allows a relatively small group of people to manage orders and log all changes for future review.

Hopline is a shining star, and something we’re proud of. The feedback we get from people outside of the brewery is awesome," said Ferro.

Over the years, M&I and SNB have continued their partnership, with consistent updates to Hopline. Our consultants travel to the SNB premises regularly, with the partnership now one of our longest-standing and certainly mutually beneficial client relationships to date.

We’re not writing code, so when we’re working on projects like Hopline, we want to talk to someone who speaks to us in a language we’ll understand, and that’s M&I. They’ve managed to take a segment in business that’s sometimes hard to work with or relate to, and they’ve changed the face of that.Sarah Ferro Distributor Orders & Inventory Manager

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