How a restored vintage RV unit became a popular mobile bar in B.C.
Inspired by her travels, Megan DeVries invested time, money and considerable elbow grease to create Vintage Pour Mobile Bar in Nelson, B.C.
Nelson, B.C., resident Megan DeVries was enjoying her travel in Australia when she came upon a business concept that changed her life. Mobile bars created from restored vintage RVs had not yet gained popularity in Canada, but down under they were all the rage. DeVries was instantly inspired, and Vintage Pour Mobile Bar was born.
Staffed with certified bartenders, Vintage Pour comes to weddings, birthday parties and other events armed with equipment, mixers and premium cocktail ingredients. All customers have to do is apply for a special event permit and purchase the alcohol.
The venture fits in with Nelson’s quirky, adventurous vibe, and business is already building for the upcoming wedding season.
Here’s our interview with this dynamic entrepreneur:
I understand Vintage Pour Mobile was inspired by your travels in Australia. How did you go about turning your inspiration into a reality?
During my time living in Australia, I came across a bunch of vintage trailers converted into mobile bars and coffee caravans, and I thought it was the coolest business model! Once I got the idea in my head, I was immediately scouring marketplace ads and Kijiji to see what kind of vintage trailers were for sale in B.C. I soon realized that this in itself was a challenge—to find the right one. Luckily, two days later I found one and purchased a well-sought-after 1957 Shasta Trailer while I was still on the other side of the world in Australia. Over the next six months (before I returned home), I started researching and brainstorming on how to start my venture.
I was very lucky to have my Dad take on this huge project of renovating and rebuilding the trailer from the frame up, which took about a year to complete with some breaks over the winter months.
As soon as the pandemic hit, I started the Self Employment Program with Community Futures. I wrote a very detailed 60-page business plan, which proved to be vitally important to my success. I highly recommend it to anyone who is thinking of starting their own business!
The “before” photo shows that the Vintage Pour RV has come a long way.
- Photo courtesy Vintage Pour Mobile Bar.
What challenges did you overcome in the process?
Oh man, so many. This is both the most challenging and best thing I have ever done.
The first bump I encountered was handling all the naysayers, which can definitely make you second guess yourself.
The most challenging part was definitely rebuilding the trailer. When I first purchased it, it looked good but in reality it was in terrible condition. You couldn’t even step into it without feeling like it would collapse at any time. Rebuilding to make it structurally sound, while keeping the vintage look and building it to code for the many inspections I had to go through, was an adventure to say the least!
Because mobile bars are a relatively new concept to Canada, doing the research on all the legalities and permitting was very challenging as well. A lot of the time when I would ask questions to governing bodies they would say, “Mobile bar? What is that?”
I definitely logged a lot of research hours in that first year.
Vintage Pour Mobile Bar can bring the fun to your event.
- Jacey Kendell Photography
What made Nelson the ideal place for you to launch your company?
Nelson is such a funky, vibrant community, and I thought it would be the perfect place to launch my company. There are no companies in the Kootenays whose main focus is bar service for weddings and events (especially with a retro mobile bar), so I figured I was tapping into a niche market.
I also wanted to live somewhere I love! Mountains, music, festivals, hiking, camping, skiing, good food—what more could you want?
From classic beverages to fancy cocktails, Vintage Pour has you covered.
- Photo courtesy Vintage Pour Mobile Bar
What are some of your most popular craft cocktails?
My personal favourite and also the most popular would be Espresso Martinis, which consist of No. 6 espresso, vodka and Kahlúa. The trailer is equipped with a commercial espresso machine, so it would be rude not to use it for cocktails as well!
Another popular cocktail is our Rose Coloured Glasses: gin, rose cardamom syrup, cucumber juice, grapefruit juice, lemon and soda. It is just as delicious if you skip the gin and have it as a mocktail.
The 2022 wedding season is already looking great for Vintage Pour.
- Jacey Kendell Photography
What types of events are you most commonly hired to attend?
Definitely weddings have been the primary focus, although we service all kinds of events. Birthdays, retirement parties, anniversaries, baby showers, bridal showers, boozy brunches, divorce parties … you name it, we are there!
Do you have any exciting plans for the future?
Next summer is going to be a big one for us and we are so excited. With two years of postponements because of the pandemic, I suspect we will be booked almost every weekend for the wedding season as we are already seeing a great influx of 2022 inquiries.
Eventually I would love to build a second mobile bar (or even a third), but I will wait a few years before that happens.