As we wrap up yet another busy year for the Ekos team, we wanted to reflect on the changes we’ve made, people we’ve connected with, and new experiences we’ve shared. Looking ahead to 2023, we know there’s change on the other side, and we’re excited to embrace it as it comes.
Without any further ado, here’s what we’ve been up to this year:
We’re lucky to have customers in some pretty cool places: from Austin to Alberta and everywhere in between, we love visiting our customers and seeing them in action and helping them improve the way they use Ekos. This year, we had the privilege of visiting:
- Austin Eastciders
- Heavy Seas Beer
- Heist Brewery
- Birdsong Brewing Company
- Nicolas Jay
- Jester King Brewing
- Pedroncelli Winery
- And so many more!
Getting boots on the ground is the best way to connect with and gather feedback from craft producers and winemakers. From expanding our knowledge about wine harvest and additives to seeing Ekos software at work, we feel so lucky to learn from the best: our customers.
In addition to meeting our customers where they are, we also met them on the tradeshow floor. We brought our biggest crew ever to the 2022 Craft Beer Conference, put on another great year of our users conference, Ekos_Con, and attended dozens of state and regional trade shows in between. Celebrating great beer, wine, and cider alongside the craft beverage community is part of why we love the work we do so much.
The Launch of Craftlab: The Podcast
Long ago we dreamt of a podcast that would tell the stories of craft producers. The highs, the lows, and every step they took in between. This year, it became real! Craftlab: The Podcast hit airwaves in March, and we’re so proud of the 12 producers’ stories we’ve shared so far with Ekos CEO Josh McKinney at the helm as podcast host.
There hasn’t been a boring moment in the podcast journey so far. Our guests have shared so much with us: how they started a brewery with their retirement fund, the challenges and emotions that come with owning a business, and partnering with drive-in restaurant Sonic are just a few of the stories we’ve heard so far. Keep your ears tuned in for new information about Craftlab: The Podcast, and give our podcast a listen if you haven’t yet.
Continuous Product Improvement
One of our core values is “when our customers win, we win” — something we strive for day-in and day-out. This year, we kept customers at the forefront as we enhanced several key areas of our product by:
- Completely reimagining our wine experience to give our wine customers more visibility across the winery and launching brand-new chemistry and composition features to help wineries manage their businesses from harvest to the bottom line
- Releasing an all-new integration with ecommerce platform Shopify that is saving customers more than two hours per week by eliminating manual reconciliation of daily transactions and keeping inventory up to date
- Maintaining ongoing core improvements — improving the overall speed and usability of every Ekos instance
- Creating an all-new, visual production planner that makes it easier for brewers to plan and streamline production in Ekos, which includes a quick, simple drag-and-drop feature
- Sharing plans to work with trusted data provider VIP on an integration that will help craft producers make sense of their distribution data and improve knowledge sharing between producers and distributors
Industry Education & Professional Growth
Living up to our core value to “be better than yesterday” includes continuing education to better understand the beverage industry and gain new skills for each role at Ekos. This year, we conducted tons of interviews with breweries, wineries, and cideries to produce the 2022 Building a Tech Stack report and the 2022 State of Technology in the Wine Industry report. We also analyzed data and extracted valuable insights about how our customers use Ekos, which allowed us to understand the most popular raw materials in Ekos last year.
Our team members also pursued continuing education and industry experiences all year long. Just to name a few:
- Software Test Engineer Canaan Chandler became a certified scrummaster
- Director of Product Marketing Kassandra Costa completed the PMM Leaders Fellowship Program and became product marketing certified
- Content Marketing Editor Becca Starkes earned her Poynter ACES Certification
- Customer Success Manager Heather Harris was named the executive director of the Charlotte Independent Brewers Alliance
In addition to these certifications and leadership roles, we’re incredibly proud of the internal promotions our team earned this year:
- Greg Munson, vice president of operations
- Jordan Parker, senior director of customer success
- Kassandra Costa, director of product marketing
- Erin Williams, team lead, customer success management
- Stephen Schaar, principal devops engineer
- Sal Narisi, customer implementation specialist
- Ed Smith, customer implementation specialist
- Taryn Rossi, senior manager of implementation
- Sean Rogers, principal software engineer
- Will Henderson, principal software engineer
- Hannah Board, product manager
Awards & Recognition
While we don’t do what we do to win awards, it’s always affirming to be recognized! We proudly earned a number of awards this year including:
- A place on the Inc. 5000 awards list for the second consecutive year
- Spot no. 34 on the Charlotte Business Journal’s Fast 50 awards
- NC TECH’s software solutions company of the year
- Business NC’s best places to work
These awards are a testament to the hard work our team puts in every day and showcases the importance of our mission: connecting the craft supply chain, which we couldn’t do without our fantastic team.
Ekos Team Bonding
If you have to spend a lot of time with your coworkers, you might as well enjoy it and throw some fun in the mix! Our teams spent a lot of time this year together — both in and out of the office. Our teams traveled to wineries, splattered paint together, played TopGolf, hosted a Pride Month party, attended a Charlotte Knights baseball game, and so much more.
We believe that connecting with each other is just as important as the work we do for our customers. Without developed relationships and team bonding, Ekos wouldn’t be the place or the product it is today. It’s all part of our “we are one team” value — we need each other to serve others, collaborate, and build community.
As we move into next year, we’re looking forward to the changes, excitement, challenges, and everything that comes in between in 2023. We can’t wait to meet more folks, gather more feedback and insights from the craft beverage industry, and continue working together to empower producers every day.