4 Ways to Improve Brewery Operations in the Wake of Slow Industry Growth

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The Brewer’s Association released their US Craft Brewer Annual Growth Report, which monitors the state of the craft beer industry. Overall, the industry once again continued to grow but at a slower rate than in years past.

According to the BA’s 2017 report, breweries running OBeer increased production by an average of 41% – 5.2 times the industry’s total rate of 6%. 

In 2017, U.S. craft breweries increased production by only 5%, indicating that growth continues to slow in comparison to previous years. Breweries running OBeer however increased production by 23% – or 4.6 times faster than the industry as a whole.

Just because industry growth is slowing down does not mean your brewery’s growth needs to slow down. Improving brewery operations is a fantastic way to combat slow growth for your brewery.

Discover how you can improve brewery operations to ensure growth of your business:

  1. Tap into Higher Margins
  2. Reevaluate Sales Trends
  3. Implement Best Practices
  4. Plan Strategically

1.) Tap Into Higher Margins

As growth has slowed overall in the marketplace,breweries focused on improving brewery operations have been shifting toward the taproom model. With the bulk of the craft beer industry growing within the realm of neighborhood locations, those finding success are keeping things local.

They succeed by constantly innovating their recipes, doing in-person R&D with customers, and hyping small-batch can releases. While regional and national distribution is still a successful tactic for some brewers, even those who’ve established themselves this way are seeing the writing on the wall and changing their strategies as a result.

2.) Reevaluate Sales Trends

What do your regular customers enjoy drinking most? If you’re not sure of what that is beyond a top selling IPA, it’s definitely time to reevaluate how your brewery is keeping track of sales.

A big part of overcoming the complexities in today’s market is about staying ahead of the curve. Which of your newest releases are selling well and which aren’t so much? Do you have a way to track all of this information? And even if that new hazy you just released is selling well, are the costs to produce it worth what could be potential losses? Being able to track how efficiently your brewery is running is central in being able to succeed in this increasing complex market.

3.) Implement Best Practices

An all-in-one brewery management software provides owners and managers a birds-eye-view of their entire brewery operation. Once they have all the information required to make better business decisions, production operations run more smoothly.

If a certain finished good isn’t selling well, or if a new batch is more expensive than usual, those supervising production and financial data can pinpoint irregularities. With this improved transparency and efficiency, time can now be spent improving other aspects of operations.

4.) Plan Strategically

In today’s competitive and complex market, it’s easy to get caught up in the hottest trends. Having a clear 5-year plan is central in improving brewery operations and being able to sustain success as a company. And you can both react to seasonal trends and manage long-term goals by tracking it all in a centralized location. Being able to account for your hop contracts, as well as plan long-term inventory and production numbers (Material Resources Planning) is key.

In the end, staying competitive is based in the reality of not just making your operations more financially efficient, but also planning future purchases and production.


In today’s market, planning your clear 5-year plan as well as tapping into higher margins is key to improve brewery operations in the wake of slow industry growth.

Learn more about our brewery management software, OrchestratedBeer, to see if our all-in-one software is key to help you achieve higher margins and growth for your brewery by downloading our brochure.