As with other process manufacturers, ERP software can help craft breweries maintain quality, while better managing growth and unexpected success. Here’s a look.
Craft beer companies have brewed up some serious success.
Take Catawba Brewing Co. “We all seek growth, but growth isn’t painless,” said Billy L. Pyatt, co-owner — along with his wife and brother — of the brewery. Pyatt should know. He said Catawba has grown approximately 60% each of the last two years.
Managing the many business processes that turn ingredients like hops, wheat and barley into a product people must buy or even wait in line for is not easy. That’s why many craft beer companies, including Pyatt’s Catawba, turn to ERP as their brewery software.
Tapping into ERP as craft brewery software
The latest publicly available figures from the Brewers Association at the time of this writing reported that, while overall U.S. beer volume sales were flat in 2016, craft brewer sales continued to grow at 6.2% by volume, reaching 12.3% of the U.S. beer market by volume. The trade group for the craft beer industry also reported that retail dollar sales for this vertical increased by 10%, up to $23.5 billion. Indeed, craft beer now accounts for nearly 22% of the $107.6 billion U.S. beer market.
Unexpected or unmanaged growth spurts add complexity for craft beer brewers, and such growth is common for the craft breweries, even though the larger beer industry isn’t faring as well. So, when is the time right to add ERP as your craft brewery software to help manage growth in a sustainable way? Opinions vary and depend on a number of factors.
Best time for craft brewery management software
“Ideally, breweries should begin to consider ERP solutions to track production, taxes and related issues from their inception,” said former brewer Scott Kerkmans, who is now director of the Metropolitan State University of Denver Brewing Industry Operations program, where he is also a professor. “This clearly helps them plan for these costs and build them into their COGS [cost of goods sold] immediately, but just as importantly, it builds the use of tracking software into their standard operating procedures [SOPs]. Trying to retrofit an ERP solution into an unorganized workforce is painful at best. Better to start out with it.”