10 Must-Have Features in the Best Cidery Management Software

The cidery market is growing steadily, and it’s in no small part due to craft producers carving out a niche against the big brands. But as revenues grow, more players enter the market—making effective cidery management more important than ever.

Simply put, and thanks to the growing number of craft cideries, having the right cidery management software can make a world of difference, helping you streamline your operations, boost your efficiencies, and drive consistent business growth. The trick is finding the right one.

A quick search will unearth plenty of business management software options and generic ERPs. The more difficult part is sifting through those options to find a solution that meets the unique needs of your cidery business. These 10 features can help you select a good fit for business success.

Feature 1. A Tailored Focus on Cidery Management

First, and perhaps most importantly, limit your search to a dedicated cidery management system designed for your business. You’ll find plenty of ERP solutions promising that their general system works just as well in any industry. In reality, that’s not the case, especially not with an industry as complex as the craft brewery market.

In fact, many of the features below will be irrelevant if they aren’t tailored to your industry. Inventory management only works if it accounts for the potential that your ingredients or finished products may spoil. Production batch tracking looks different than it might on a factory floor. Custom reports are great, but customizable reports that are built for the craft beverage regulatory environment are better.

This is perhaps the biggest opportunity to narrow down your list of options. From there, you can compare potential cidery management solutions more specifically based on their individual features.

Feature 2. Advanced Inventory Management Capabilities

Everything about your daily operations revolves around inventory. It requires you to have the right ingredients on hand to move through your production. Tracking your finished beverages, both in your warehouse and as they make their way to your core resellers, is also essential to efficient operations. That’s what makes inventory management such a central need for any cidery software platform.

Look for software that helps you keep track of your inventory easily and in real time. Rather than the occasional sync, you should be able to rely on it as your single source of truth. Ideally, your inventory should also connect directly to your reordering process, helping to keep the supply chain moving as ingredients or packaging materials get low. 

More advanced features can also be beneficial. For example, does the software include a visual floor plan of your inventory to make items easy to find? Can you manage multiple locations in a single system as you expand? The same benefits that apply to comprehensive brewery inventory software will work for cideries as well. Look for comprehensive functionality to find the best solution.

Feature 3. End-to-End Production Batch Tracking

Ultimately, running a successful cidery depends on knowing every piece of the production pipeline. That includes knowing which equipment is used at what times and which recipes are on deck. It’s the only way to ensure that you can keep an even and consistent production flow that aligns with your inventory and demand.

Look for cidery software that can accommodate this need. It should include the ability to access your production logs, including the availability of equipment and maintenance records. Your entire team should be able to effectively use the software to track their pieces of the production flow.

Feature 4. Automated Custom Reporting

Beyond the daily needs of production flow and inventory, you should also be able to use your software to gain deeper insights into the health of your business. Running reports is common for a wide range of reasons:

  • Keeping an overview of your finances, including reports on Cost of Goods Sold, revenue, and more.
  • Showing inventory reports that highlight the inflow and outflow of your core ingredients, providing a deeper insight into any adjustments your supply chain might need.
  • Providing production reports that show the capacity and use of your various pieces of equipment.
  • Fulfilling compliance reports for cidery regulations by the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau and other regulatory agencies.

As the cider industry continues to grow, these reports will only become more important. They allow you to gain insights into your business and share those insights for regulatory needs. Look for software that enables you to build custom reports while offering templates that speed up the process. If you can automate those reports to run at pre-defined intervals, all the better.

Feature 5. Cloud-Based Recordkeeping and Database Management

When seeking the best software for smooth operations, avoid on-premise solutions that are tied to a single location and server. In addition to providing a risk profile that could get your business data in trouble, these solutions also come with another crucial shortcoming: an inability to manage information with a location-agnostic standpoint.

Keeping that data in the cloud, on the other hand, allows you to centralize all of your business-critical information and make it accessible from any location. From delivery personnel on the road to managers of multiple locations, everyone involved with your cidery management will be able to access that single source of truth.

Recipes, production schedules, and production processes can all live in the same system. So can financial and inventory records. That combination of flexibility and centralization becomes invaluable as your cidery business grows and evolves.

Feature 6. Task Management Features for Daily Operations

Managing your cidery as a team also means streamlining your workflow across every level of your operation. Task management can become cumbersome if it relies on institutional knowledge, especially as staff turns over and new skills need to be learned.

That’s why software with at least basic task management features can become invaluable. It enables you to set up processes and keep involved team members informed about what they need to do to keep things on track. The result is a smoother operation with more clearly defined roles for everyone in the cidery.

Feature 7. Recipe Templates to Increase Consistency

As you begin to expand your offerings, the ability to keep track of how each variation of your core product is produced is essential. The nuances and ingredients needed from different apple cider varieties or sweet versus dry cider can change the way you move through the process.

With the right cidery management software, you can keep track of those nuances. Each recipe can be built from a template, ensuring you get the basics right while accounting for the subtle differences. Even if you don’t ferment one of your varieties for a year, you’ll still be able to track exactly what needs to be done to make it taste just right.

Feature 8. Quality Control When Producing Batches

Consistently producing high-quality cider requires levels of control throughout the process. Software, of course, can’t provide that control on its own. It still requires testing your batches through automated and human means.

The right platform can help you keep track of and optimize those quality assurance processes. By recording the results of your tests and adding quality control steps to the production process, you can make it a regular part of your operations.

Feature 9. Forecasting Capabilities

Chances are that you have a base-level production to satisfy demand and keep your shelves stocked. But do you know how that level might fluctuate based on customer demand and seasonal changes? Those nuances are crucial to building and optimizing your cidery business plan. And with the right software, you can more easily get there.

Look for platforms that include forecasting abilities. Leverage intelligence on your previous production trends and sales data to better estimate what the future might hold. That way, you can better plan ahead, minimizing waste and improving your profitability in the process.

Feature 10. Advanced Integrations Across the Business

Finally, don’t underestimate the potential of a solution that can pull data from other platforms you might be using to manage your business. For example, can you integrate your cidery management solutions with your POS system? What about an accounting system like QuickBooks?

These types of integrations can turn your cidery platform into a true centralized solution for all of your business needs. That maximizes its usability, especially in combination with some of the other benefits outlined above.

Elevate Your Cidery Management With the Right Software Platform

As the cidery market grows more competitive, it’s time to make a choice. Do you want to walk the path of most small cideries and manage your processes manually, or do you want to gain a core efficiency advantage?The latter will require a comprehensive software system designed for the industry. And with the right cidery management platform, you can easily take advantage of all these features. Book your Ekos demo to see how our system has been optimized for the cidery market and can help you build a sustainable plan for business success

Profile Icon
Written by Greg Munson