While attending and speaking at the 2019 Brewery Accelerator Workshop in Denver, I answered questions following my presentation: Business Advice for the New (and not so new) Craft Brewer.
Begin with the End in Mind
Your plans for any kind of administration should be based upon where you want to take the company. If you are going to be a “tasting room” only, that means that you will have to keep your overhead lean and mean. If you are planning for AB-Inbev to take you over in five years, then you had better plan to be an attractive target.
Congrats, you've been handed the best job in the world–the CFO of a brewery! Now how can you be successful in craft brewing? I’ve often told people that my job was the intersection of power, emotion and money. Since I wish that someone had sat me down and explained this industry and how it works, I'm sharing my experience in a regional craft brewery in ten distinct words of wisdom.
It used to be that collecting growlers from all of your favorite breweries was a fun thing to do. In fact, I had a shelf dedicated to all of my favorite breweries. Some states only allow breweries to fill growlers from their specific brewery, therefore everyone had a collection of growlers from their chosen breweries.
In early November I was surprised at the amount of Christmas decorations everywhere. I even saw a mall Christmas tree one week before Halloween! Despite the hectic feel and busyness of the season, it is still one of my favorite times of year. Most everyone is in a good mood and Christmas day is such a peaceful day. That got me thinking about breweries and how they can best navigate through the holiday season sanely and profitably.
If you are in the brewing industry you are likely familiar with Ekos, a craft business management software. Ekos has been working on their programming for the batch process for a long time. I first got a sneak peek at last year’s user conference. Over the summer, I received an email from Ekos telling me to prepare for the new batch process. They made a two-minute video which summarizes the steps that brewery owners need to take. I highly recommend that you watch the Ekos video and review the enhanced batch process page on the help portal. They have spent a lot of time creating articles explaining the changes to the system.
Whenever you sit down to review your financials a thought often comes to mind…how are we doing compared to other breweries? Are we as efficient as everyone else? Is anyone else making any money? Those answers are tough to come by….most craft breweries are privately owned, so we can not go to the stock market to see how our industry is doing. There is the BA benchmark study (more on that in a later post). So we need to rely on any benchmarking data that we can get our hands on.
Continuing from Part 1, this post contains questions asked of me during the 2018 Brewery Accelerator Workshop in San Diego, California, followed by my answers.