Getting a brewery off the ground these days is hard enough without worrying about future brewery operations growing and maintaining the quality that your customers love. One could argue that all the “housekeeping” items involved with a brewery can easily distract owners and brewers from putting out great craft beer on a consistent basis. With the many demands from the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau, as well as state legal requirements, this can place undue pressure on a brewery trying to meet and anticipate production demand. Then throw in the results of production output to the government and you can feel your head spinning. Enter Monk's Toolbox, a San Antonio/Portland based technology company with a passion for great craft beer.
To help breweries with all of their daily record keeping and other various aspects of brewery operations, Monk's Toolbox has developed software designed to track everything from distribution, accounting, materials inventory, and barrels produced. It also allows users to plan for future production and growth.
The concept of brewery management software isn't new and the guys at Monk's know this, however they approach back end management from a different angle. Company founders Zach Harris, Jeremy Karney and Adam Pryor took their love of craft beer and technology to not just look at helping with brewery management, but making it user friendly as well. By managing the brew process with a user friendly application, brewers will be able to efficiently prepare and send their monthly tax documents with relative ease.
Harris explained that the idea of Monk's Toolbox was born from a brainstorming session between Pryor and himself. "The beginning started when Adam and I were brainstorming ideas and businesses that we could create that would include our passion for solving business or process problems as well as our passion for beer and wine industries.” Harris went on to say that "As I traveled around the country and visited with brewers in my role of project manager for the Alamo Beer brewery project, we began to notice that the way the brewers collect and use data was, for the majority, taking notes on pen and paper and then transferring that data to a spreadsheet. They then had to filter and use this data to help them fill out tax paperwork for the state and federal government. Brewers are taxed on what they sell and not what they produce so this data and how it is collected is VERY important to the operations and sustainability of the brewery.”
The mobile software developed allows breweries to manage all of their data electronically with an iPad app, which was developed to even transmit the data to all the various state and federal reporting agencies. "We want to help the brewer stay focused on what they are passionate about and that is brewing great beer, and not data collection and filling out back office paperwork." said Harris.
An 'On Tap App' or display board has also been developed for brewpubs and establishments serving craft beer to display what's on tap. Harris noted that, "We see a lot of growth in this market and have many ideas on how to expand this to include a great platform for brewers to showcase new products or show off the brewing process to the consumers when they are right there at the point of sale which can help real time outreach to good customers as well as touch potential new followers of the brand."
To get started, the guys submitted their idea to “3 Day Start Up”, making it through the process into the final pitches and have been progressing ever since with their core team. In addition to Alamo Beer Co. (which is set to start construction later this year) the guys have San Antonio breweries The Granary and Branchline Brewing Co. lined up as alpha users and they are seeking others (such as users from Oregon, California, Colorado and New York) to try the product to give feedback while they continue the development process.
Craft beer chain, The Flying Saucer, is celebrating Barrel-Aged Beer Week at their San Antonio location with a rare tapping each night at 6 p.m. The featured beers will be from breweries such as (512), Indian Wells, Goose Island, Laughing Dog, Real Ale, Ranger Creek and St. Arnold.
The 2013 Alamo City Cerveza Fest (ACCF) is fast approaching and the Bexar Brewers are ready for it. ACCF is one of the preeminent home brewing competitions in Texas, receiving entries from all over the state. Registration opened Saturday February 16th and will close on March 17th. Registration drop off locations will include both Homebrew Party locations, and for those waiting until the last minute, Freetail Brewing Co. will take entries on March 17th only.
For more information check the new Official Alamo City Cerveza Fest site.