In 2016, when Jamie Lee founded Southern Grist Brewing with two friends, it was little more than an idea. The three of them worked together at their corporate jobs during the work week and spent their weekends homebrewing beer. Since 2017, their beer production has increased 10x, they employ more than 20 people, and their beers are sold in their taprooms and hundreds of retailers across the country. And they are still growing!
When Southern Grist Brewing was in the early stages, Jamie, who handles the finances for the business, set up their company infrastructure to run on a combination of spreadsheets and Quickbooks. But they quickly realized that having a platform where everything was managed for them and seamlessly tailored to their needs as a brewery was well worth investing in. When two friends who owned a different brewery suggested they give Ekos a try, everything clicked. “Anything was better than a spreadsheet,” Jamie told us. “Ekos sounded a heck of a lot better than working on nine tabs on an Excel workbook.”
The Southern Grist team now uses Ekos software to organize all the finances and inventory for the business. “Ekos saves us time and money from TTB reporting and state tax compliance — it’s much easier to manage with the wealth of data that I can pull out of Ekos,” Jamie said. Their team loves how Ekos is integrated with Xero accounting and Square. The Square integration, which launched in late 2020, has allowed Southern Grist Brewing to gain new insights into their business finances. With Square and Ekos, they can easily see which taprooms are profitable and identify trends. Grounding decisions in that detailed financial data has been a key element of their business plan during COVID.
Also helpful? How Ekos’ system updates automatically so everyone stays up to date. “Our accountant sits in Wisconsin and we are based in Nashville,” Jamie told us. “Ekos offers us the ability to have that data pulled through on a daily basis. Anyone who needs visibility into information has access— we’re essentially always all on the same page virtually and that’s been a huge plus.”
But even after the COVID-19 pandemic and widespread remote work are a thing of the past, the team at Southern Grist will still be using Ekos to manage their brewery. They have big plans — expanding into seltzer, increasing production to meet demand, reopening their taprooms — and no plans to go back to “the painfulness of having to run a brewery through spreadsheets”, as Jamie joked. “Ekos has helped us elevate the business to where we are today — as we continue to grow.”
Take a tour to see how Ekos can help your business just like Southern Grist Brewing.