The 2015 Craft Brewers Conference marked the second straight year we’ve presented our OBeer customer panel titled: “How Craft Breweries Use Business Management Software”. The panel was designed for breweries to hear directly from our customers about running OrchestratedBEER and why they chose OBeer over the alternatives.

Here’s a quick summary of the panel in case you missed it:
OBeer CBC PanelistsThe panel kicked off with our 5 panelists from 4 different breweries all anxiously seated at the front of the room ready to begin. The room quickly reached capacity as 150+ continued to file in – searching for that lone unoccupied seat to fill. Last year’s panel session in Denver was held in a room slightly smaller, with room for about 100. This time we requested space for 150 but were still maxed out with standing room only. The massive turnout proves the increased demand for brewery management software and what OBeer has to offer.

  • Ryan Petz, CEO, Fulton BeerOBeer CBC Our Panel
  • Scott Ebert, Partner, Baker Tilly*
  • Kenny McNutt, “The ‘Beer’ded Baron”, MadTree Brewing
  • Paul Burgis, CFO/COO Golden Road Brewing
  • Erwin Gut, Dir. of Automation & IT, Firestone Walker Brewing

*Scott Ebert, Partner at Accounting firm Baker Tilly helped Fulton Beer transition out of the mess caused by a failed implementation of “other” brewery software solution over to OrchestratedBEER.

How did you get user buy-in?”

The first segment started off with basic questions like how panelists achieved user “buy-in”, or in other words, how they actually got their brewers to ditch the secret brewery spreadsheets and whiteboards in exchange for OrchestratedBEER on an iPad:

2015 OBeer Customer Panel“It wasn’t about cramming accounting software down their throats but actually showing how it (OBeer) could help production do their job better.”

Paul Burgis, L.A.-based Golden Road Brewing

Scalability: “Is OBeer too big, too small?”

The larger regional breweries in attendance appreciated Erwin’s perspective as he began to lay out his plans to integrate Firestone Walker’s current brewery automation and technology platforms with OrchestratedBEER. His main take away was the confidence a large regional brewery can have knowing that OrchestratedBEER is simple enough for the smallest breweries yet scalable enough for the largest breweries producing 1M+ barrels a year.

The OBeer Community:

The conversation then shifted to the massive OBeer user community that has developed over the years due to collaboration efforts of more than 850 daily OBeer users:

“Collaboration leads to innovation. We’re all here to help each other out”

– Kenny McNutt, MadTree Brewing

Kenny went on to explain how he, like so many other OBeer users, have contributed concepts for new OBeer features and capabilities that are now standard for all users just by submitting ideas through the forum. Fellow OBeer users can submit their own ideas, add commentary or even improve the initial idea which then gets put into production by the OBeer Product Manager.

You can check out the OBeer forum or find an OBeer user near you to explore the OBeer community in depth.

“Why Not QuickBooks?”

The final segment of the session shifted the conversation shifted back to the basics. One question that really resonated with many of the attendees in the room related to the widespread utilization of QuickBooks in the brewing industry. Panel moderator Brad Windecker posed the loaded question of “Why not QuickBooks?” to panelists. You could feel the tension in the room intensify simply because nearly EVERYONE in the industry runs their brewery accounting through some version of QuickBooks. As attendees inched forward with baited breath for a response, Ryan of Fulton Beer spoke up to provide personal experiences why using QuickBooks to run a brewery is more trouble down the road that can be avoided:

“We started in QuickBooks… My piece of advice is do it right the first time and it will save a lot of time & headaches. It (QuickBooks) is not designed to run production. We’d have to make manual journal entries to account for inventory.For a long time we didn’t have a system we could rely on… we didn’t have that confidence until now.”

We address the issue of QuickBooks in brewing in more detail in a past blog post entitled: “QuickBooks for Breweries: Good or Bad?”

A handful of questions were addressed from the crowd before the session came to a close, not before presenting our panelists some local Portland goods as a token of appreciation for participating.

So, what’s next?

The next big event will be the Orchestrated User Conference, which has evolved over the years and will accommodate our users in other industries like spirits.

Be sure to check out our FAQ page for answers to the most common questions, or click the button below to download a demo: