In 2013, John Clowney saw a big opportunity in the cider market and decided to take the plunge to open a cidery in Durham, North Carolina. He started selling cider at Bull City Ciderworks in the summer of 2014. In the years since, Bull City moved to a new 5,000-square-foot location in Durham and opened a location in Lexington, North Carolina for the bulk of its production. Bull City also has plans to open additional retail locations across the state.
When Bull City got its start, founder John Clowney knew that a software to manage inventory, production and accounting would be important. The cidery originally chose OrchestratedBeer, but found that the system was too complicated, time-intensive and expensive for their needs. The team realized that OrchestratedBeer was “a solution meant for a much larger organization” and found it to be “not very user-friendly,” so they decided to look for a solution that allowed for easy production planning and inventory management and was a more cost-effective choice.
Bull City Ciderworks became an Ekos customer in December 2018. From the beginning, the team found the software to be “extraordinarily easy to use” and intuitive with a high-quality interface. By adopting Ekos, the cidery was able to cut down on time and resources for batch creation, inventory management and invoicing. Compared to OrchestratedBeer, Bull City pays one third of the price with Ekos but has access to an easy-to-use system with a hands-on, responsive support team. With Ekos, each member of the Bull City team has their own sign in and can use the capabilities that make sense for their department – from production to fulfillment to sales to retail – without having to spend hours and hours using the software. Another key feature for the Bull City team is the integration with their accounting system, QuickBooks Online. When an order comes in, it syncs with QuickBooks to create an invoice and syncs with payments from distributors. This saves the team several hours each week of reconciling accounts. Founder John Clowney has one piece of advice for people who are new to the craft cider, beer or wine industry: “If I was starting again, I would get Ekos right out of the gate.”