9/15/16 3:15 PM
America is beer-crazy. 2015, in particular, was the year of beer, with more breweries in the United States than ever in history. California, Oregon, Washington and Colorado are leading the charge in the beer economy despite environmental challenges in recent years, testifying to the inevitability of surging demand. With the steady rise in interest, breweries face a new set of production challenges that require increasingly innovative solutions.Click to learn the challenges breweries face in production with this brewery infographic
The interesting thing about beer is that it is a largely homogenous international product. The technology used to produce beer goes virtually unchanged from on part of the world to another. With minor brand differentiations, a light lager from one region tastes very similar to one from another. Indeed, over half of the world’s beer is brewed by one of five manufacturing companies. Perhaps that is why there has been such pressure on the industry to become more creative with the output. The premium beer segment has shown steady growth and profit margins, making it easier and more attractive for craft breweries to get in on the game.
In addition to wide-ranging, creative repertoires, smaller breweries are more agile than their larger counterparts. They can deploy smaller batches faster with steady product launches, catering to specific and localized tastes. This shift can be seen in the distribution phase as well. Retailers (particularly specialty bottle shops) demand small, frequent deliveries to lessen the burden of inventory space. They seek partnerships that will deliver the right beer to the right outlet at the right time, making large-volume distribution to vendor warehouses a thing of the past.
So what does that mean for the larger breweries? How can they keep up with the industry-wide shift? The response of global giants (such as Heineken) has been to acquire or merge with mid-level breweries, leaving a gap between small, local breweries and the Big Five. But many mid to large organizations are rising to the challenge of agility with planning and analysis software that increases capacity and inventory visibility across departments and between facilities.
The More Beer, Faster infographic outlines the specific challenges facing the growing brewery in the current booming environment, and how tools such as ERP and APS facilitate the transition into the Golden Age of Beer.