In 2013, Raleigh Brewing Company founder Kristie Nystedt became the first woman to own a brewery in the state of North Carolina. Since that first 800-barrel year, the brewery has grown 8.75x, now pumping out 7,000 barrels per year. Raleigh Brewing has three locations in its area and Kristie owns and operates three sister companies: Atlantic Brew Supply, ABS Commercial, and Atlantic Process Solutions, all focusing on brewing equipment and ingredients. The business also recently joined forces with a third-party distributor, ensuring their beer gets in the hands of its 200 accounts across North Carolina.
Before implementing Ekos in 2016, Raleigh Brewing used spreadsheets for production and paper records for TTB reporting. The team was “bootstrapping and piecing things about,” according to Kristie. But, this system (or lack thereof) wasn’t reliable. Kristie knew the brewery needed software to keep them accountable and organized — plus, whatever tool Kristie chose would ideally hook into the brewery’s POS and accounting software to ensure a smooth flow of data from one to the other.
More Time for Beer
Matt John, head brewer, says Ekos gives him insights into his production volumes and batch loss, the time to be creative, and the confidence to make the best beer he can. “I remember 75-hour work weeks, and not because the beer had to get made, but because I had to pay taxes, or I had to handwrite invoices,” Matt said. “All of these tasks pull you away from the brewhouse. Of course it’s an important part of the job, we have to get paid to keep doing this, but I’m a brewer. The number one thing I want to do is make sure that my beer is as good as it can be and comes out on time and the more time I have to do that the better and that’s what Ekos lets me do.” Matt says Ekos gives him more time to make beer — ensuring a high quality product that comes out on time.
Reduced Batch Loss
The clarity and batch loss reporting in Ekos means Matt has a better understanding of how much beer he’s making and how to make sure there’s enough to go around to all their customers, especially because Raleigh is now using a third-party distribution partner. No more guess-and-check methods — Matt knows exactly how much beer he’s making and how to scale recipes in the future to satisfy customer accounts and keep their three taprooms moving.
Visuals Are Key
Ekos’s facility view is critical for Matt too — it means he always knows what his beer is up to without flipping through a ledger several times a day. “I adore that feature,” he said. “Having that graphic representation to follow every single chain of events in the brewhouse is so helpful.”
Transparent, accurate inventory management lifts a weight off Sales Manager Darin Bernaert. “I can look in Ekos and immediately see what we have in our warehouse and what is in the tanks to have an idea of what’s going to be available for pickup,” Darin said. Real-time inventory simplifies cross-team communication too. Checking inventory in Ekos means Darin doesn’t have to “bug” Matt.
Preparing for an Audit
Historical data is really important to the Raleigh team — its existence literally saves the business time, money, and raw materials. Before starting a batch, Ekos makes it simple for Matt and Darin to check how a particular beer has performed historically in sales, how much of it they made, and decide whether to even execute another batch. While it’s nice to see what you were doing a few years back, the team also relies on its QuickBooks integration with Ekos as a record that would be useful if they were ever to get audited. “The Ekos accounting functions have integrity and keep an accurate record of our production and sales at any given time,” Kristie said. “It’s essential to have a trustworthy source for all of our numbers, and that’s Ekos.”
Ekos’s integrations and detailed record-keeping are helping Raleigh Brewing run the most efficient business possible. “Any tool that you can put in place that alleviates redundancy is where you’re getting success in your tool, and we are definitely seeing that with Ekos as it comes to the integrations with Arryved and QuickBooks,” Kristie said. Having the most information available is helping the team as they look toward growth. “At the end of the day, things are shifting,” Kristie said. “I’m seeing what’s going on in our taprooms and with our different distributors, and there’s a chance that we’re going to be maxing out on our capacity by the end of this year. So, the more information that I have from Ekos, the better.”
Kristie is looking forward to this growth and maintaining the brewery’s ability to create community. “What we do is bring strong communities together — we give a place of comfort and a safe space,” Kristie said. “We’re looking forward to maintaining this community and growing with Ekos to bring them more good beer and a good atmosphere.”