As industry requirements, economic conditions, and consumer demands continue to shift, many craft breweries are seeking to adapt their operations and remain competitive. They can do this by driving down costs and improving visibility across the business, from sales and production to financial reporting. Specifically, access to data across departments and locations can increase efficiencies—even as market conditions fluctuate—and help management base their decisions on facts instead of feelings.

To stay competitive during this time and potentially capitalize on new opportunities, breweries will need to unify their product development, supply chains, manufacturing processes, and distribution networks. They can do this by redirecting their focus—pursuing new revenue streams, distribution networks, and new ways of marketing to consumers. If they don’t, they could risk getting lost in the industry’s increasingly competitive markets.

As breweries redirect their focus and create stronger business processes, it can create a ripple effect: New efficiencies bring processes and products into focus, which lets management direct energy toward other parts of the business. Owners and leadership can then spend more time improving strategies and less time maintaining manual processes, managing multiple software systems, and updating spreadsheets.

A brewery’s financial data can provide some real reassurance to lenders. Strong breweries understand their business and can better use—and represent—data to manage it on both a day-to-day and forward-looking basis.

In the current economic environment, it’s essential to understand and control costs. Having real-time visibility into channels, products, and costs has helped many breweries understand where to increase their efforts and where to pivot away. Having strong systems that help manage and translate these costs can make the difference between surviving and being a high-performing brewery.

Those breweries that use an ERP (enterprise resource planning) system have much better data to lean on when preparing their forecast and understanding and managing their costs. An industry-specific, cloud-based, and mobile ERP can provide direct insight into a brewery’s operations—supplying customized, real-time financial reports on budgeting, expense allocations, and amortization.

By increasing visibility and automating processes, breweries can often decrease costs, increase control, and better manage the business. This, along with dynamic revenue analysis, can help management make better-informed business decisions—and these decisions can lead to consistent gains over time.

It’s always important to control costs and make sure your capital is allocated appropriately. It’s challenging times that remind us just how important this is. The time and cost of implementing internal systems to monitor and control the sales cycle can help management increase profitability and build cash reserves.

It also allows transparency to employees. Many successful craft breweries operate like a family, and sharing these metrics with the team can contribute to building morale and help everybody work toward the common goal of building a healthy, sustainable brewery.


Michael Parker, Partner, has worked in the technology-consulting industry for more than 25 years. He can be reached at (303) 965-7915 or