Ignite Brewing Company may look like your average local brewery, but when you peek behind the curtain, you’ll find a business that is unique in many ways. In 2018, local couples decided to open a brewery in their hometown, Barberton, Ohio. What sets Ignite Brewing Company apart first and foremost is a focus on community – and not just as a gathering place. The brewery donates 11% of net profit back to the communities they serve. So, visitors know that each beer they buy is serving a greater purpose. The Ignite team is also unique in that the founders have kept their day jobs. They all devote time to the brewery but are still able to pursue their own passions and work to support their families as teachers, engineers, or financial advisors.
When setting up the brewery, partner Jason Slater wanted to “make sure we started doing things the right way early.” At first, he said that many of the processes, or lack thereof, weren’t efficient or sustainable as they planned for growth. As Ignite opened its taproom and started distribution, there was a lack of visibility into what was happening across the business. Jason said he “knew there had to be a better way,” so he started looking into software that could help with production, TTB reporting, inventory management, and connect with QuickBooks. After looking at multiple options, including some “unnecessarily onerous” ERP solutions, the Ignite team selected Ekos.
Since getting started with Ekos shortly after their taproom opened in 2018, Ignite has used Ekos across the business. “We’d rather be working on our business than working with spreadsheets,” said Jason. The team uses Ekos to track inventory for incoming goods, run production, and understand batch costs. One huge benefit for the Ignite Brewing Company team came when they reviewed how they priced various products. “We were selling some beers at a much lower margin than intended in some cases, driving us to adjust some brands by as much as 10%. Having the batch history in Ekos helped us realize it. Now, sales are better aligned to costs over time, which helps us target recipe adjustments and ingredient contracting opportunities.”
Because Ignite is run by folks with full-time jobs, they can’t be at the brewery all the time. Jason puts it this way, “If we can’t run the business from our cell phone, we’re doing something wrong.” With Ekos’s cloud-based software, any business partner can run reports from anywhere, check in on batches, and get visibility without needing to be there in person. With Ignite’s focus on community-building, it is vital that time is spent wisely. “The better we are able to track and manage, the greater opportunity we have to give back to the community,” said Jason. “And we want the business to succeed for the long-term and to survive us so we can keep our employees safe, happy and healthy.”