Running a craft brewing business never gets boring. There are constantly moving parts, and mastering those moving parts is crucial to delivering the consistently great beer your customers have come to expect. To obtain such results, strategic brewery management is essential.
While many of these moving parts relate directly to business processes, you cannot forget about the recipes you brew. After all, customers gravitate to craft brews specifically because of their higher quality. To pay a premium price, they expect consistently great beers or turn to your competition instead.
Experimenting with new recipes is the joy of every craft brewer. When you find one that sticks, the goal is to standardize the recipe and repeat the same positive results every time.
That’s difficult to accomplish—unless you have the right software in place to not only record your recipes but manage the brewing process according to those recipes every time you brew a new batch. Advanced craft brewing recipe software can make all the difference in that process. Here are seven key reasons why.
Reason #1: Comprehensive Record Keeping of All Your Recipes
Fundamentally, brewing consistent beer means making sure you follow the same recipes every time. Even if you change your offerings seasonally, it’s important to ensure that the next time the same season rolls around, you can still go back to the recipe that your customers have come to know and love.
That process, in turn, requires good record-keeping. Rather than relying on paper records or individual files for all your recipes, the right management software enables you to maintain those records in a simple and searchable database.
This simple step can become hugely important once considered in the context of all the other records you’ll need to keep for your brewery. By creating a centralized database that includes not only your recipes but also your inventory, financial records, and more, you can create a single source of truth everyone in the business can refer to as needed.
Reason #2: Effective Tracking of Your Batch Production
At their core, recipes are just records. But any experienced brewer knows that they truly come to life when transformed with the right ingredients into batches of beer that your customers can buy, consume, and recommend. To make the most out of your recipes, connect the theory of which ingredients and steps are needed directly to your batch production.
Here is where some of the more advanced features of a brewery recipe and management platform come into play. In addition to keeping your recipes in a central, virtual space, it can help make those recipes come to life, turning simple step-by-step instructions into a dynamic process that keeps your batches moving through production.
In that environment, your recipes become interactive guidelines for your batch production. At any step, brewers will know and recognize what comes next, how long it will take, and how to prepare it. That doesn’t just ease the process but also enables you to plan ahead more reliably for all your batches currently in process.
Reason #3: Traceability of All Your Recipes and Ingredients
In addition to the ability to track your individual batches, brewery recipe software also allows you to trace all of your ingredients as they get used and are needed during production. That, in turn, creates an environment in which you can keep track not just of your batch production but also of all the external variables that go into brewing those batches across the business.
For example, consider the benefit of hooking your recipe production into your ingredient tracking. Because the recipe outlines exactly which ingredients will be needed, you can better forecast what inventory you will need as a batch first goes into production. You can then trace those ingredients through the production process, ensuring a consistent and comprehensive overview that goes far beyond the initial needs of the batch.
Reason #4: Template Creation of Common Recipes for Reliable Production
For most craft breweries, experimentation is part of the daily fun of operation. But you still need reliable base recipes from which to experiment. After all, even the most exciting new variety of Hefeweizen still needs to rely on the same common base of yeast and wheat.
Through your brewery software, you can build recipe templates that put those basic steps in place. The right kind of template includes anything from the ingredients needed to the number of days a given step requires to complete.
Some software options take it even further, creating base-level templates that come delivered with the platform. From there, individual brewers can easily make adjustments to create their own unique varieties without having to start from scratch every time they’re in the mood for experimentation.
Reason #5: Easy Recipe Updates When Using New Ingredients
Speaking of updates, one constantly shifting variable in brewing beer is the ingredients used in production. Whether it’s due to supply chain issues or the recent industry focus on hyper-local beer ingredients, changing ingredients can shift the recipes you use to build up inventory and continue offering quality products for your customers.
As with developing unique varieties, incorporating new or adjusting ingredients in your recipes should never require starting from scratch. With the right software, it doesn’t have to.
Instead, the interactive nature of the software helps you easily make recipe updates that automatically get incorporated into your future batch production. Any changes you make to your recipes, including but not limited to ingredients, can apply to all of your batches. This automation saves you valuable time that would otherwise be spent adjusting the batches currently in production.
Reason #6: Reliable Quality Control for Consistent Brews
The right recipe goes a long way toward ensuring consistent, high-quality beer for your customers. But without quality control throughout the production process, you still can’t be sure that the final output actually satisfies high customer expectations. Fortunately, this is another area where the right software can help.
In any brewery, quality control happens in a number of ways. It can range from microbiological and chemical tests to human sensory panels that evaluate both quantitative and qualitative aspects of the batches you brew.
The key, though, is both operationalizing quality control and connecting it back to your recipes. After every batch, insights about its quality should feed back into the next time the recipe is used. Because these records exist in the digital realm, recipe software can help you make those connections, ensuring that quality control is always top of mind when building and optimizing your recipes.
Reason #7: Integration with Larger Brewery Production Processes
Finally, the right software becomes especially relevant and beneficial when it doesn’t act as a pure tool for your recipes. Instead, recipe planning and record keeping should be only one component of a larger brewery management system that ultimately looks to help you operationalize and optimize every part of the production and management process.
We’ve mentioned examples of this level of integration throughout this guide. It includes connecting recipes with batch production, inventory management, and quality control processes. The more seamlessly you can connect your recipes to those larger processes, the easier it will be to manage the production of each batch—and ensure consistent quality beer in the process.
How to Find the Right Brewery Recipe Management Software
The right recipe management software for your brewery business can make all the difference. Of course, you still have to find the right software to ensure those benefits, helping you get that consistent brew every time you complete a batch.
Finding the right platform means taking a strategic approach to your search. Consider asking yourself questions like:
- What business goals am I trying to solve?
- What type of brewery and business management software am I looking for in alignment with those needs?
- What is my budget for the software package I am looking to implement?
- Are the vendors I’m considering familiar with and built for the craft brewery industry?
- What software options do other brewers use to manage and track their recipes?
These questions can go a long way towards making sure that the software you choose can bring significant and reliable improvement to your recipe management and production.
Where possible, look for a comprehensive solution that doesn’t just keep track of your recipes but can help with every part of your brewery business. From accounting to inventory management and from POS integration to quality assurance, the right software can help you operationalize your brewing process to drive better margins, especially while offering consistently delicious beer. When considering your options, the market-leading brewery management system may just be the right choice. Contact Ekos today to learn how we can help you better manage your beer batch recipes and consistently delight your customers with tasteful brews.