Here at Brew Ninja we’re involved with craft breweries from right across the scale. That’s because our software is optimized for scalability, and allows users to streamline day-to-day brewery management however big their business grows.
Over the years, our experience of working with craft breweries has given us insight into common trends, when brewers tend to scale, and how they use our software to help manage their up-scaling.
Let’s be clear. We’re not talking about taking on a couple more servers in your tap room. We’re talking about expanding production. So if you’re blazing a trail and looking to scale your own brewery, you might want to read on...
There are common phases when smaller brewers tend to scale up. Most startups tend to have the equipment to process around 10 to 20 hectolitres per week. So you’re producing between 500 to 1000 hectolitres of beer a year. At this point, you’re making a healthy profit, and you’ve probably got a handful of staff. So how do you know when it’s time to scale up?
Tap room not enough? Demand from liquor stores increasing? Canning and bottling becoming a pressure? Distribution network expanding? These are the early signs that a scale up of your brewery may be on the horizon.
So in general, a key indicator is when you’re moving towards increased production and acquiring larger equipment. With that, comes the need to hire more people – like a head brewer or assistant brewers. As a founder, you might also be looking to onboard more sales people, to concentrate on the wider business.
With more teams, more complexity, and more inventory to handle, you’ll need greater accessibility to data on your raw goods, packaged products, and tank contents. As an owner, how do you ensure your expanded team has access to the relevant data, and how do you maintain oversight as the business becomes more complex?
Multiple spreadsheets may have been manageable in the early days, but now you need something more streamlined and cost-effective. And with delegating key responsibilities to additional hires, you’ll also need answers to questions about areas you’re no longer directly involved with, things like: What are your wastages? Are you selling at the right price?
In our experience, when one person tries to do everything there’s no room for expansion. Breweries getting it right tend to trust in their team, with every person clear on their role. That way accountants can track purchases, brewers can monitor labels and packaging, and sales teams can keep tabs on their figures. The most successful breweries rely on their team to fulfill their part of the process.
Brew Ninja software enables every member of your growing brewery team to input and update relevant data, while you maintain complete oversight of the entire process.