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Smooth Operations: The ERP ‘Aha’ Moment

Here’s how software for enterprise resource planning has helped breweries unlock previously invisible insights that can save money and grow sales.

Kate Bernot Apr 1, 2024 - 13 min read

Smooth Operations: The ERP ‘Aha’ Moment Primary Image

Head brewer Alex Biedermann, assistant brewer Lily Moffly, and brewer Oscar Stern at Strong Rope in Brooklyn, New York. Photo: Courtesy Strong Rope.

Brewing isn’t always easy, but it might be the easiest part of running a brewery these days.

As the craft-beer category contracts and competition becomes stiffer, making sure a business is operationally and financially sound is more imperative than ever. And that’s where enterprise resource planning (ERP) software has helped breweries gain better visibility into areas such as inventory management, business segmentation, cost of goods, and even sales activity.

“Making good beer isn’t going to be enough to keep the lights on anymore,” says Dustin Jeffers, director of brewery implementation at NextGlass, which owns the Ollie software system. “You have to make good beer and run a good business.” ERP, he says, “forces you into running a good business.”

Breweries—especially small ones that sell only through their taproom—often get by with spreadsheets and QuickBooks to track some of the above information. However, as breweries of all sizes have learned, ERP software offers greater insight into critical metrics such as margins and profitability, and that insight empowers better decision-making. Beyond those basics, though, breweries are also recognizing that ERP software can perform some unexpected tricks, making their businesses stronger in ways they hadn’t considered.

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