We can’t solve problems using the same old thinking that created them. Sometimes you gotta step outside the box, into the kitchen and grab a frosty glass and cold craft beer. Well, that’s how Craft Brewing Business (CBB) editors like Chris Crowell solve their problems — particularly on those Friday stumpers (like importing a tweet into a story). That’s when the CBB squad is ready to pick a beer and discuss this week’s big news in craft brewing. In fact, we suggest you do the same thing. This isn’t a one-way conversation — we want to hear from you too. Let us know what stories caught your attention and what craft beer you’re looking forward to enjoying in the comments below. Cheers!
Keith Gribbins, editor:
Brewing beer is as old as ancient Egypt, but running a craft brewery shouldn’t be as archaic. Today, brewhouses to bottling lines are automated. Packing and distribution strategies and networks need to be electronically tracked, and everything from product costs to government reporting needs to be organized, filed and processed with timelines and precision. How do entrepreneurial, passion-driven craft brewers organize these sometimes-foreign business facets into a manageable, profitable, well-oiled machine? Software and cloud-based hardware and services.
We’ve been impressed with the management solution products coming out in the tech industry specifically for craft breweries. This week we highlighted SilverSun Technologies and its principal operating subsidiary SWK Technologies Inc., which helps brewhouses from Milwaukee Brewing Co. to Two Brothers Brewing Co. attain their business management goals with software and cloud solutions that have awesome names like BeerRun, BrewPub and BrewX ERP. Impressively, our post on SilverSun Technologies was one of the most popular stories on the site this week.
Just a little while back we reported on Georgia’s Vicinity Mfg., which develops software exclusively for the process manufacturing industry. Its VicinityBrew software specifically offers comprehensive brewery management solutions. In fact, Oregon’s Deschutes Brewery is using the software today, and Deschutes is the fifth-largest craft brewery in the United States. Vicinity Mfg. even hosted its first annual VicinityBrew Summit May 17, in Atlanta, which was a big hit with both brewers and vendors.
The point is: Business management software can help any company get streamlined. Unfortunately, sometimes great brewers are not the best businessmen, so we’ll continue to keep readers in touch with the most advanced and up-to-date business advice in the industry, which can often lead back to software solutions.
Craft Choice: Green Flash Hop Head Red
Chris Crowell, editor:
This is a story from April about Vermont-based Long Trail Brewing collaborating with Lake Champlain Chocolates to come up with, you guessed it, a limited edition chocolate bar for the local Burlington Discover Jazz Festival. I’m bringing this up now because I received a sample in the mail from the good folks at Lake Champlain and Long Trail, and it was delicious. Maybe a non-craft beer drinker would be put off by the hops aroma and kick in their chocolate treat, but for those of us who have acquired the need for hops in our life, I found it to be a delightful combination. Beyond this simple shout out, I also bring this up because the chocolate bar has me inspired to start infusing hops into other places. Specifically, in one of those Twitter hashtags where you swap in a certain word into movie or song titles. Yes, right here, right now, we are starting #HopIntoSongs. Friday!
Craft choice: Uinta Brewing Hop Notch IPA
Jason Morgan, editor:
I know, I know. Nutrition facts? BORING! But I’m one of those weirdos who studies nutrition labels, counts calories and likes to know what I’m consuming. While I’m cutting carbs and counting grams of nutrients, my love for beer gives it a pass. I don’t count it. Now, the TTB’s new rule allows for nutrition labeling beer — and I’m torn. The meticulous analytical side of me wants to know those numbers and the other side just wants to relax and enjoy the suds. If brewers publish their nutritional info, I’m probably going to check out the stats, but I’m going to try not to go too overboard. Having another cold craft brew would probably help.
Craft choice: Mystery beer selection at the beer store, followed up by another pour from my Stone IPA keg