This weekend, Munich is set to open the 181st iteration of Oktoberfest, the world-famous event that draws millions of visitors to Bavaria every year.
While the Germans are mainly interested in upholding time-honored traditions, however, the American craft beer industry is achieving ever greater success – without relying on any form of mass consumption.
The numbers don’t lie: In 2013, the business in craft beer grew by 20 percent across the pond, making it a U.S.$14.3 billion industry. As the term “craft” implies, these beers feature intense flavors that result from their creators’ love for the art of brewing. Indeed, most craft breweries were founded by homebrewers who demand a high standard of quality.
While the types produced can be incredibly diverse, they all share a common focus: enjoying beer to the fullest. Let’s take a look at two examples.
Golden Road’s drive to success began in Los Angeles
Any startup looking to ship 80,000 kegs per year has to think like a big corporation from the very beginning. Golden Road’s greater mission? To establish an exceptionally good local beer brand for Los Angeles without harming the environment or letting costs get out of control.
With her corresponding business model, founder Meg Gill managed to find a niche in the beer market. The kind of rapid growth her company would go on to achieve requires industry-specific software that helps small breweries keep up with their larger competitors.
Luckily, Gill quickly came upon the right technological solution: OrchestratedBEER, a software suite based on SAP Business One that made it easy for Golden Road to fine-tune its processes. Since then, the company has had to deal with fewer delivery problems and less unnecessary waste while achieving a full return on its investment after just six months.
These improvements enabled Golden Road to grow by an astounding 160 percent within a single year.
Meanwhile, having the flexibility to adjust its processes to market fluctuations has proven to be a tremendous advantage for Meg Gill’s brewery.
“We’re mainly concerned with the quality of our beer, and thanks to SAP Business One and OrchestratedBEER, we can now produce the way we want to – and make a profit!” affirms Paul Burgis, general manager at the Golden Road Brewing Company. “Before we started using this industry-specific software, processing a single delivery often took 45 minutes. For those of us with efficiency in mind, that’s just too long.”
And Golden Road isn’t the only craft brewery where business is booming…
Avery now brewing on iPads
The Avery Brewing Company of Boulder, Colorado, was very nearly bowled over by its own success. Over the course of a year, it saw growth on the order of 60 percent.
“We just weren’t prepared for anything of that magnitude,” confesses Conner Helton, assistant controller at Avery. “We realized that we had to assess the processes we’d been using. Observing the way our people employ technology quickly showed us that we needed an advanced solution that’s still easy to use.”
In other words, ERP plays a major role in Avery’s everyday business processes.
“OrchestratedBEER warns us when our inventory is getting low and needs to be restocked,” Helton adds. “It also integrates all of our data in SAP Business One, which gives us fast access to it no matter where we are.”
After outgrowing its previous facility in short order, Avery just recently moved into a new Boulder brewery with the cutting-edge technology the company needs to produce 10 times the amount of its typical order volume. This is another area in which it now relies on SAP Business One, whether it’s at the office or on the brewery floor: All of Avery’s data is easy to call up, and its business is running in real time.
The resulting benefits are clear, as Helton points out. “It just really makes a difference whether you need 19 clicks to put an order into the system or just two,” he says. SAP has turned out to benefit the company’s financial processes in unexpected ways, as well. “Particularly when you’re entering into a financial relationship with a business partner, using a system both sides trust is a huge help,” Helton reports.
Top image: SAP