Charlotte’s brewery market was just getting started in 2012, and Heist Brewery became a catalyst as the area’s only craft brewpub. Now, Heist Brewery is a brewing operation boasting two locations, 3,000 bbl production, and distribution in and out of North Carolina. The brewery started out with a focus in Belgian- and German-style beers but has expanded to include hazy IPAs, pilsners, sours, and more. The team has also focused on improving its food and cocktail options, working to include ingredients from the brewing process throughout.
Heist has taken to its growth in the last few years, increasing its capacity for distribution an impressive 25% in 2021. However, this excitement came with growing pains. Lisa Antonacci, the brewery’s sales and distribution manager, was fielding texts and emails nonstop to keep orders from slipping through the cracks, not to mention when Heist released new beers — phone ringing off the hook. The brewery dreamt of a sales portal to simplify this process and heal these growing pains but knew they couldn’t build something like that solo.
Since implementing Ekos Order Hub, Heist has found great success — and alleviated many headaches — by finding a centralized system for communicating with customers, sharing their most up-to-date inventory, and giving Order Hub users something special.
After years of overselling inventory and having to answer all of the same questions for every customer, Lisa now has one place to send customers for the most accurate inventory, pricing, and more. She says one of the most impactful features for Heist Brewery is the ability to treat each customer individually just like you would over phone or email. Grouping customers has allowed her to personalize each customer’s online storefront, as some customers are only buying cans, others kegs. Plus, with customers across North Carolina and distributors beyond state lines, Heist needs the ability to personalize delivery dates with each customer, something they’ve adopted in Ekos Order Hub
The brewery is aiming to produce 4,000-5,000 barrels next year, something that calls for a bolstered distribution system. Self-distribution cuts out the middleman and brings back better margins, so that’s where the team is prepared to focus. Lisa has slowly migrated customers onto the platform with the goal to form “new habits” as Heist branches out next year, adding a distribution center and sales rep in the Raleigh-Durham area.
Lisa said she and Heist Brewery’s owner weighed whether to add a system like Order Hub, ultimately deciding it would provide the business with more financial opportunities, improve and streamline their distribution process, and make Lisa’s life easier.
The customers who order through Ekos Order Hub also get early access to the brewery’s growing portfolio. Lisa said she posts upcoming releases in the portal before they’re announced to the full customer base, enticing customers to use the portal for early, exclusive access to beers.
The sales and distribution team is looking forward to growing with Ekos Order Hub and utilizing it to personalize their interactions with each customer and simplify their distribution process (and cut back Lisa’s phone time).
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