overview

Founded in 2020 by a group of brewers, distillers, and beverage media veterans seeking innovation and independence in the industry, Drink This aims to create new beverage brands in multiple channels. Their first brand, Meyer lemon apéritif Le Moné, has garnered attention from the likes of the New York Times and the Michelin Guide, and the team has no plans to slow their roll. More brands and SKUs are on the horizon for Drink This, whose partnership with Finger Lakes winery Point of the Bluff Vineyards gives them the production space to keep their Manhattan-based brand growing. 

challenge

Eric Bachli, the chief innovation officer for Drink This, has been making craft alcoholic beverages for quite some time. He’s developed “bulky spreadsheet platforms,” and worked with other business management software programs in the past at previous organizations. According to Eric, spreadsheets and the ERPs he has previously used are both too clunky and difficult to use. Eric knew when the Drink This team got together that they needed a solution that was simple and appealed to every team member due to their varying levels of computer skills and mostly remote workforce. Additionally, Drink This runs production once a month at an offsite winery, so they needed a top-notch inventory solution that allowed the team to maintain a pretty complicated inventory process.

results

Eric and his team are working with high efficiency and creativity for their fresh new brand using Ekos. “We all definitely spend our time way more efficiently using Ekos versus spreadsheets,” he said. 

Remote Office? No Problem

The team’s remote work environment is an ideal fit for Ekos’s on-the-go capabilities. Drink This produces Le Moné one week per month using an alternating proprietorship at Point of the Bluff Vineyards, whose wine is fortified to create the apéritif. With Ekos, the team can efficiently communicate and prepare for production runs. “The problem I saw with other ERPs and internally built operational spreadsheets is that they were not intuitive and required burdensome upkeep — the inherent complexity in these platforms made it difficult to adopt them company-wide as they were not quite user-friendly,” Eric said. “Often, people were funneling information to me to input into the spreadsheet or requesting information and reports. Now that our information is centralized all in one intuitive platform [Ekos], if someone wants to look at an inventory item or generate a report, they go to Ekos and can easily access the required information. That’s a lot better than them sifting through a spreadsheet — there’s no doubt in my mind our efficiency is way up with Ekos.”

Keeping Up With Inventory

Being in the know about what inventory is available and when they need to order more of a particular ingredient is key to keeping production efficient. The team greatly benefits from Ekos’s cloud-based platform, which allows Eric and the rest of the team to check inventory from anywhere. This leads to less confusion and fewer mistakes on production days. “Knowing that I can create a recipe or formulation as a planned batch prior to the production and knowing that Ekos will see what resources I have available in inventory is a major resource for us to plan appropriately,” Eric said

Keeping up with finished goods inventory is key from a distribution standpoint because of the many channels Le Moné is sold through: wholesale, direct-to-consumer, and self-distribution. Luckily, Eric and his team can update their respective inventory data from afar, ensuring production, sales, and COGS numbers are accurate every time. “Our team can generate and post invoices that will deduct from inventory,” Eric said. “That is really nice because we don’t really even need to communicate by email or have a meeting because everything is updated, making it easier to know what’s been taken out of our inventory.” 

Selling More With Ekos

Eric says the sales functions in Ekos lend themselves well to his sales team’s varied work, especially those who are on the go on the streets of New York City. He is particularly keen on the customer leads functionality, which helps sales reps stay organized and remember who they visited and what actions need to happen next for current and prospective customers. Plus, Eric is no stranger to the beverage alcohol industry, where employee training can be time consuming and burdensome, especially at a rapidly growing business like Drink This. With Ekos, it’s easy to train new reps on how to most effectively use the program and pick up where the last person left off. Eric also loves the time he saves sending purchase orders and invoices straight to customers in Ekos — no more saving PDFs and forgetting to follow up or overloading his computer’s storage with repetitive files. Plus, Drink This enjoys the ease of using Ekos side-by-side with their accounting software, making collections simpler.

An Intuitive Interface

Ekos’s easy-to-use platform gives Eric and his team peace of mind that everyone has a solid handle on how to access the information they need. This ease of use is the primary reason Eric chose Ekos in the first place — it was a better experience for him after working with other tools and being let down each time. “The previous ERPs that I used were not intuitive,” he said. “Plus, spreadsheets are a nightmare for keeping track of inventory and operations. They require a lot of input and lead to a lot of errors.” With Ekos, everything is organized and members of the Drink This team can work together while apart. 

Eyes on the Prize (Margins!)

Keeping up with rising costs and inflation is important to any business, and Ekos gives Eric confidence that he always has his finger on the pulse of their margins and COGS. He says in the last few months he’s seen prices for raw materials increase by as much as 50% in addition to rising shipping costs (and delays!), so staying on top of their margins is key. “Fluctuating costs would be very difficult to manually track without a system like Ekos that’s going to give you a blended, accurate COGS,” Eric said. “That is critical to understanding our margin analysis and remaining as efficient and aware as possible on how we’re functioning as a business. That’s a critical goal for us in the continued use of Ekos, and it’s really excellent for that.”

More Creativity

Eric also has more time to be creative and innovative with Ekos. Given the beverage alcohol industry’s rotating door of popular products, it’s important that the innovators in a business have enough time to keep the creative juices  — or, in Eric’s case, alcoholic beverages — flowing. Looking ahead, Drink This is planning more SKUs, more retail items, and more growth. Eric and CEO Max Nevins have successfully secured direct shipper licenses in 30 states and are planning to secure up to 10 more this year, in addition to building out their brand and reputation. Eric is excited about bringing Ekos along for the ride. “I’m glad we brought Ekos on from the get-go. It’s the best way to grow into a system and grow up with a system,” he said.

Powering Efficiencies with Shopify

Since implementing Ekos’s integration with Shopify, Eric is saving tons of time he previously would have spent reconciling inventory data between Ekos and Shopify. Now, sales of Drink This’s finished goods sync straight back to the business’s Ekos inventory — a process Eric estimates is 5x faster than before their integration. “Before this integration, I had to run a report in Shopify, do the breakdown by SKU, and then create an invoice in Ekos,” Eric said. “Now I simply go to the invoices page and post all the draft invoices.” Operating exclusively out of one system maximizes Eric’s time, meaning he can focus on selling hundreds of bottles of his aperitif instead of manually changing inventory levels. “It’s like night and day,” Eric said.