Crafting a Process: How Inventory Applications Can Help Breweries Succeed

Keeping up with and tracking inventory can be a daunting task for craft breweries, especially with a variety of brews and distribution points. Inventory applications provide more transparency, allowing management to track the flow of inventory before it becomes a final product. If you’re considering implementing an inventory application in your brewery, it’s important to evaluate the potential benefits and recommendations for use.

Benefits of Using Brewery Inventory Apps

Using an inventory app improves efficiencies within the brewery by streamlining a number of processes and offering benefits, including:

Batch Timelines

Batches can be tracked throughout the brewing process. You can know at any time that batch A is X number of hours into the fermentation process.

Transparent Inventory Levels

You can monitor inventory levels for all products and ingredients to easily identify when a resource or finished product is running low. This also helps increase the likelihood of catching theft. For instance, a red flag might be that a product keeps running low in the system, but there aren’t sales reported.

Centralized Reporting

An inventory app creates a centralized location for receiving, sending, and recording all purchases orders, sales orders, invoices, bills, etc. Everything inventory-related gets recorded into the system.

Easy Recordkeeping

Many applications sync with accounting software platforms, eliminating the need to record items twice.

Accurate Financials

Inventory apps provide a more accurate cost valuation of inventory, which will lead to more accurate margins for finished products.

Profit Margin Insights

You can monitor specific product margins and their sales trends using an inventory app, giving more visibility to see which beer and packaging results in the highest profit margin. This helps reduce product loss from spoiled batches as breweries can better anticipate the fluctuation of sales.

Examples:

  • When we brew batch A, it is more profitable to sell the beer in cans rather than bottles or kegs, but batch B is more profitable in bottles.
  • Batch A has a better profit margin than batch B.
  • We sell more stout beer in winter, might consider brewing more stout beer and fewer lagers.

Tips for Implementing Inventory Apps

Once you decide to implement an inventory app, below are a few tips for using a brewery application.

  • Breweries should still perform physical counts outside the system to ensure the inventory is moving through the system properly.
  • Before creating a new product or item in the inventory system, consult with the application support team/accountant to ensure the product is mapped correctly to the general ledger.
  • When removing a step from a brewing process, consult with the application support team/accountant to see if removing this step will cause inaccuracies in cost valuation of inventory.
  • Have a deadline for when inventory items must be entered into the system (i.e. 5th business day all items must be recorded in the system). Allowing backdating of inventory could lead to management hiding costs of inventory in prior periods.
  • Do not record inventory items outside of the system. This will lead to inaccurate margins, and decrease efficiencies because now inventory is being tracked in multiple areas.

Interested in learning how an inventory application can help your brewery? Contact an Anders advisor to learn how an inventory app can help your brewery, or learn more about the Anders Outsourced Accounting Services Group or our Lodging, Food and Beverage Services.