Brothers Brian and Craig Stephan and their friend Matthew Wolf opened Iowa Brewing Company in Cedar Rapids, Iowa in 2016. In the years since, it has become a staple of the Cedar Rapid brewing community and produced nearly 3,000 barrels in 2019. Even with the challenges of COVID-related closures in 2020, the brewery has shifted to canning more product and has nearly doubled its packaged beer sales over last year.
When Iowa Brewing Company first opened, they did so without a business management system and relied solely on QuickBooks and spreadsheets to handle customer orders, inventory and other important information. Quickly, Brian Stephan realized that they needed a better way to control inventory, so the team implemented Ekos in 2017. “Ekos was a lifesaver! It was far superior to what we were doing before,” Brian said. Although inventory management was under control and the Ekos – QuickBooks integration was making financial reporting easier, the team was still spending several hours a month reconciling sales from their POS system, often 35-40 days after sales were made. This created many challenges, including inaccurate reporting, out-of-date inventory and issues with reordering due to time lead times.
In early 2020, Iowa Brewing Company began to sync Arryved with Ekos and QuickBooks, creating full connectivity across the business. “Previously, I spent so much time trying to make three things – inventory, POS and accounting – talk to each other and it was a nightmare. With the integration, they now connect to each other,” said Brian. Now, the systems are synced, allowing the Iowa Brewing Company team to see actual sales numbers the next day and ensure inventory is up to date. “It is a great timesaver, is way more efficient, and reduces inaccuracies in data,” said Brian. “We are very, very happy with the Ekos and Arryved and QuickBooks integrations.” The team finds that reconciliation now takes about an hour a month and sales are automatically integrated in financial statements. With a few years of experience under his belt, Brian and the Iowa Brewing Company team have experienced the highs and lows of brewery ownership. Brian’s most important advice for other craft producers: “I wouldn’t start a brewery without Ekos. Whatever you do, don’t use spreadsheets!”