picture of tobacco wood brewing

Success Story

Tobacco Wood Brewing

“For me, buying Ekos was a very logical step. We’re a brewery, so we need a brewery management system. We need to know what finished goods we have on hand and what we need to order for our next batch.”

- Paul Shelton, Owner/Sales


  • First female-veteran owned brewery in North Carolina
  • Broke 1,000 bbl production in 2021
  • Ekos customer since 2018 opening


  • 4+ hours saved monthly on state tax and TTB paperwork
  • 45% improvement in one rep's sales number
  • 3.5x increase in monthly average revenue in 2021
  • 2 hours saved training new employees with Ekos Boost



Tobacco Wood Brewing is North Carolina’s first brewery owned by a female veteran and brewed its first beer in 2018. Since then, the business has grown to two locations in Oxford and Durham, North Carolina. The brewery is owned by Mara and Paul Shelton, who started home brewing in 2004 as a “date day.”


The Sheltons initially used a wholesale distribution partner to grow from local to regional sales, but it wasn’t a good fit, and Tobacco Wood transitioned back to full self-distribution. Since then, the brewery has pushed to increase sales but struggled to motivate and train sales representatives as communication was scattered and not transparent. Sales representatives were falling short of company goals and lacked motivation to change because they weren’t sure how.


Tobacco Wood uses data available in Ekos to track activities and sales by representative. With that data on hand, they can effectively coach their sales representatives to improve by showing them effective strategies employed by other representatives and encouraging a spirit of competition. This strategy helped their lowest-performing representative improve his sales numbers by an incredible 45% in one month. 

Paul said that Ekos has been part of Tobacco Wood’s business solution since day one, finding success in the TTB and statewide reporting capabilities. He said keeping track of his brewery’s TTB reporting initially took him hours. Ekos’s tools have changed the game by saving him four and a half hours per month, which he estimates would be over eight hours now, based on the business’s growing production volume.  

“That four and a half hours, that’s valuable to me,” he said. (Our customers on average can save 10+ hours per month on TTB reporting. Learn more about how Ekos can help you in our white paper The Value of Ekos: Calculating the Return on Investment.) 

Additionally, Paul said that when compared to other options, Ekos was the most fully developed end-to-end brewery management software. He said it was the only option specifically for breweries that didn’t just focus on production or accounting. Plus, the cost made sense for his business.

Ekos Boost, the newest user interface for the Ekos software, has also given the Sheltons’ business a boost in organization. They said the left-hand navigation menu simplifies their operation, and having everything for sales and development “all in one space” is just what they needed. 

“The Ekos Boost interface is just much more logical and much easier to move through. It has cut down on the time it takes me to train a new sales rep from three hours to one hour,” Paul said.

Take a tour to see how Ekos can help your business just like Tobacco Wood Brewing.