Why would a brewery need an IT department?
This article will be about why craft breweries, and all breweries for that matter (coffee, wine, kombucha, etc.) need a strong technology presence in their organizations. A long time ago, I was tasked by a brewing company here in Michigan to develop an internal IT department. Cool! I jumped on the gig. Everything went as planned – implemented a bunch of new technology on the brewing side as well as general administrative day-t0-day. There was always the same lingering question that everyone seemed to as – why would a brewery need an IT department? Below are my top 3 responses –
1: Brewery Wanderers: What? Breweries naturally draw in visibility from anyone in the nearby area. People will walk in your doors, wander around like they work there, and nobody will say a thing. How does this play into the need of an IT department? Simple – Access Control and Surveillance are a huge part of IT. With all of the heavy machinery (canning lines, bottling lines, glycerol chillers, fermenters, etc.) the last thing you need is for a wanderer doing something in the brew-house that is forbidden. Install a camera system and get your access control under wraps with a solid IT department.
2: High Availability: I quickly realized that the taproom could not go offline. Meaning, the internet, power, and ability to process credit card transactions should always be stable. To me, this was an invitation to create a disaster recovery plan… for a brewery. What happens when phase 3 power goes down? What happens when the ISP cuts a the fiber line to the circuit at the end of the block (this happened)? All valid questions that a solid IT partner can solve for your brewery.
3: All Systems Go: No brewery operates the same. It’s a good mix of conventional and unconventional manufacturing processes sprinkled in with hospitality and funk. Systems will have to be created, upgraded, migrated, installed, integrated, and everything else under the sun. You’ll need an ERP for brewery planning, a CRM for the sales team, an POS system for the pub, and an inventory system for your webstore/retail shop. They all need to talk to each other too. If it sounds like a big undertaking, it is. That’s where we come in – give us a shout when you’re ready for some help!