When John and Vicki Doble — a son and his mother — founded Tampa Bay Brewing Company in 1997, they hoped to bring good beer to Tampa, Florida. Navigating local beer regulations proved to be their biggest challenge in the business’s early days. Back then, their brewpub license in the state of Florida allowed the TBBC team to make beer and sell it, but not distribute. Vicki’s youngest son David, who had helped in the initial building of the business, left his flying career and returned to the business full time after John Doble passed away in April 2003. Beginning in 2011, the brewery was finally able to distribute after years of lobbying and partnerships with the Florida Brewers Guild. Fast forward to today, the brewery distributes across Florida and produced 17,000 bbl in 2021. Plus, the team has grown tremendously since the brewery opened a second location.
Since the Dobles founded the original TBBC, a lot has changed. The brewery is producing a higher volume of beer each year, managing two locations, bolstering their restaurant offerings, pioneering new brewing processes, and so much more. While these opportunities are exciting for the TBBC team, they also come with high stakes. Keeping up with a high volume of inventory across multiple locations is a complex challenge, not to mention working with several distributors to get TBBC’s beer up and down the state of Florida and select cities in the Southeast and the Northeast. The team knew they needed a solution that would help them communicate better, get a stronger hold on their inventory practices, and track sales data more closely.
Since bringing on Ekos in 2019, TBBC has seen tremendous growth and gained visibility across their business, especially when it comes to sales, communication, and inventory management.
TBBC is operating two locations — both of which serve food and brew beer — complicating cross-team communication. Luckily, the teams at both locations utilize Ekos to stay on top of every step of the brewing process from grains to glass. The production team enters purchase orders and invoices, the inventory team tracks finished goods, and sales reps manage their invoices and customers in Ekos. This kind of seamless communication from one team to the next keeps the brewery rolling. Plus, Ekos’s inventory management capabilities allow Windy Doble, TBBC’s wholesale coordinator, to work closely with the revenue team to track the product they’re holding on to, the products that are selling (and where), and where they should be looking to sell next. This collaboration wasn’t easy before, and the team is now looking to further expand their distribution in the Southeast.
One of the features that has been most beneficial to the TBBC team has been Ekos Order Hub, Ekos’s digital sales portal. Windy says using Order Hub has given her more time back in her day to manage the many hats she wears at TBBC. “Ekos Order Hub takes the pressure off of me and ensures I don’t have to take the time to manually create invoices — I just approve orders,” she said. Windy also noted the beauty of a system like Order Hub is not needing to feel overwhelmed with an all-or-nothing approach — the brewery is slowly onboarding distributors onto the portal, giving both the brewery and their distributors time to learn the best way to make Order Hub work for them. TBBC’s sales team is also onboarding slowly as they build a routine of checking invoices and other metrics daily.
Windy’s experience with the Ekos team keeps TBBC on track too. Always open to new ideas and ready to help solve issues, the Ekos team offers rapid responses to technical support inquiries and gladly accepts product feedback to continuously improve the user experience.
In the next year, TBBC is looking forward to organically expanding distribution, driving on-site sales, and bolstering their current Ekos use.
To learn how Ekos can help your team just like Tampa Bay Brewing Company, take a look at our product today.