vicinitybrew software

Outgrowing QuickBooks: Risky Business

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You’ve built your brewery using QuickBooks, but as your business grows you need systems that can keep up with and support new business opportunities and changing demands. tomcruise
A brewery management solution from VicinityBrew Software provides the insight and tools you need to increase sales, simplify business operations, and keep your people productive. There’s never been a better time to buy, with affordable, low monthly payments, and cloud-based deployment options. We can help your brewery solve business challenges, such as:

• Increasing sales and profitability with better business insight
• Keeping up with demand without adding headcount
• Managing multiple lines of business, currencies, or multi-site locations
• Simplifying and securing processes to reduce data entry and risk
• Scaling operations to support ongoing growth
Take time today to change your business for the better every day.

It doesn’t matter what size your business, little things become big issues without the right brewery management software. A business solution from VicinityBrew helps manage your financials, inventory, and brewery operations with the power to support your growth ambitions. With proven implementation tools and an intuitive user experience, you can be up and running quickly—in the cloud or on your servers—the choice is yours.


Making Excise Reports Less Taxing.

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Five questions regarding excise tax automation with Kevin Rasmussen, co-founder  of EthoTech

Making Excise Reports Less Taxing.
Making Excise Reports Less Taxing.

Q. For beginners, how does excise tax differs from sales tax?

A. Excise tax differs from sales tax in two main areas: Sales tax appears on the invoice and is paid by the customer. Excise tax does not appear on the invoice, as it is paid by the brewery or distributor.

Sales tax is calculated as a percentage of the invoice sale amount. Excise tax, in the craft brew industry, is calculated as a dollar amount times the quantity sold. This is further complicated because the taxing unit of measure may differ from the selling unit of measure. For example, you may sell in cases but be taxed in gallons. Both the tax rate and taxing unit of measure are set by each tax authority.

Q. If a brewery has an excise tax problem in their accounting system, how would VicinityBrew solve that issue?

 A. Our VicinityBrew module allows you to create federal, state, county, and municipality tax authorities, along with the tax periods and rates for each tax authority. When a sales document is created, the excise tax owed to each tax authority is automatically calculated, based on the customer address and line items that appear on the document. Our product reminds you when it’s time to pay tax to a particular tax authority and even creates a payables transaction if you desire.

To sell bottled beer within the jurisdiction of a particular tax authority, a brewer must obtains a Certificate of Label for each beer that will be sold. Each Certificate of Label must be renewed each year; otherwise, the brewer is prohibited from selling that beer until they re-certify. These renewals are not excise tax, but since they are paid to tax authorities, our product includes reminders for paying label renewals and can also create a VicinityBrew payables transaction for the renewal.

Q. How long would it take for that company to implement your excise tax module?

A. The time to implement can be as little as a couple of hours or as long as a few days and is dependent on several factors, including:

The number of tax authorities to which a craft brewer is subject. The tax rate complexity for those tax authorities. The number of customer addresses to which they sell. The complexity of their unit of measure schedule setups.

Q. Which states have the highest excise tax rates?

A.  Tennessee, Alabama, Georgia, Alaska, and Hawaii have the highest rates in the United States. Tennessee is the highest at $1.17 per gallon. So, it really makes for an uneven playing field for craft brewers. For example, the state of Wyoming is only $0.02 per gallon.

 Q. Has the unprecedented growth of the craft beer market in the last three years effected the   demand for automated excise tax?

A. Absolutely! For craft brewers, excise tax becomes an issue when they begin selling into multiple states, as the complexity increases given the varying rates, tax periods, and rules governing tax within different states. Additionally, timely payment of label renewals becomes an issue when multiple tax authorities are involved.


Kevin Rasmussen drives the product development, customer support and information technology side of EthoTech. Graduating from Illinois State University in Normal, Illinois, he earned a Bachelor of Science degree in mathematics focusing on theoretical and applied mechanics. Along with his degree, Kevin holds key industry certifications including: Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer [MCSE], Database Administrator [MCDBA], Integration Developer for Great Plains Edition [CID] and Installation Specialist for Great Plains Edition [CIS]. Prior to EthoTech, Kevin contributed to executive leadership teams for two Microsoft ISV Partners and was responsible for the development of a large vertical application franchise management solution.

The EthoTech’s excise tax solution is available as a VicinityBrew software module.


“From Passion to Profits, Taking your Brewery to the Next Level: Part 3”

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The DudeWhat can I say? I love the Dude. “The Dude abides.” But, my favorite quote from the Cohen brother’s cult favorite, The Big Lebowksi, has to be, “That rug really tied the room together man.”

I think this quote works for our discussion today as we look at the needs of craft breweries producing over 100k BBL annually. When breweries reach this level, it’s all about bringing things together. Managing multiple production facilities, defining more precise operations with formulas, and integrations with control systems.

In this group, you will find some well-known brands such as Sierra Nevada, New Belgium, Stone Brewing Company, and Dogfish Head Brewery. Breweries at this level typically have successfully implemented an ERP system and have a need to formalize processes and dive into deeper data navigation across multiple facilities. Applications such as Microsoft Dynamics® (there are many flavors of Dynamics) with third party specialty applications such as VicinityBrew® are a powerful solution for these breweries. These larger breweries typically have an onsite IT support team and their in-house server hardware.  These companies have the infrastructure and bandwidth to support a traditional ERP system.

100k BBL is a lot of beer. Understandably, as demand increases, so does the need for systematic procedures and uniformity throughout the brewery. But if you are a brewery that has broken the 100k barrel per year mark, you may want to take a look at the following practices within you production operations.

  • Defining processes in formulas
  • Integration to control systems
  • Multiple brewery scheduling

Challenge: Defining processes in formulas.

Solution: There is clearly a typical way beer is made.  Specific methods vary from brewery to brewery.  This is one reason the same brew formula in one brewery will yield different results in another brewery.  The system and the way the beer is made in that specific system is the key to consistency.

As a brewery matures, making consistent beers in larger volumes and potentially at different brewing sites becomes a bigger challenge.  This requires standardization and communication of those standards.

In the early days of a brewery the brew formula or fermentation process may be loosely defined and altered regularly.  This is method becomes much more complex as the brewery grows in volume.

What started out as a list of ingredients and simple instructions just won’t cut it as the brewery grows.

One method of communicating standards is to provide more processing information in the formula than they did when they were starting out.  This may be related to how raw materials are introduced or specific equipment settings needed for a style of beer.  The formula becomes more than just a list of ingredients and instructions but also a communication tool to assist the brewers, fermenters and packers.  In short it provides more structure to the beer making process.

VicinityBrew allows a Brew Master to define the beer making process using Unit Procedures, Operations and Phases.  Many of you may recognize this as the S88 standard to communicate to control systems.  VicinityBrew has embedding that three level structure in the core formula architecture.  This provides a way to better define the steps and processes to making beer.

One way to communicate specific technical information is by creating user-defined parameters. Breweries may want to communicate machine settings, transfer rates, resting times and a whole host of other information.  This data is not easily communicated in a block of text.

At any step in that process materials, instructions, labor, QC and parameters can be defined.  This gives needed structure to breweries increasing in production volume.

So a brewery in its emerging stages may not have the need to centralize production processes – rest assured as they grow beyond 50k BBL and above 100K BBL this become crucial.

VicinityBrew addresses this need out of the box and is ready to provide that needed structure when the time is right. 

Challenge: Integrations to control systems.

Solution: The design of VicinityBrew’s formula management module and hence, our batch tickets, is developed in such a way that it follows the industry standard of an S88. An S88 defines the levels and or data within a control system. These are the levels of information a control system reads. VicinityBrew adopted this S88 industry standard in the creation of formula management, so when it is time for a brew log to talk to the control system that is running the Brew house, such as Delta-V or Braumat, it will marry up much easier.

Challenge: Multiple brewery scheduling.

Solution: VicinityBrew allows you to account for multiple production facilities. This allows breweries to consistently produce the same finished good or SKU from multiple locations. For example, a production facility in California will have different equipment, different climate, and even different water from a facility in North Carolina. With VicinityBrew software, breweries can define the beer making process specific to each facility. The result is a standard quality and consistency in every SKU.  For example, an IPA made in a brewery’s California facility will be exactly like an IPA produced in their North Carolina facility. This simplifies customer service. Customer service does not have to worry about whether the IPA came from California or North Carolina. All they need to know is where you want to ship the SKU out of, thus pushing it to scheduling.

Check out these videos to see more information. Our next post will have a supply chain discussion on the main differences between a bar-code data collection system and a full warehouse management system (WMS) and where each solution fits best.

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“From Passion to Profits, Taking your Brewery to the Next Level: Part 2”

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Removing Large Beer Vat From BreweryIn our last post, we discussed the business challenges of micro and regional breweries producing less than 30k barrels per year (BBL). Now let’s take a look at the mid-level group of craft breweries who produce between 30k and 80k BBL.

In this group, you will find some well-known brands such as Highland Brewing Company, Flying Dog Brewery, and Oskar Blues. Here you have a need for a robust and extensive financial and distribution application.  Applications such as Microsoft Dynamics® (there are four flavors of Dynamics) with third party specialty applications such as VicinityBrew is a powerful solution for these breweries. These larger breweries may have an onsite IT support team and their own in house server.  These companies have the infrastructure and bandwidth to support a traditional ERP system.

The number of Breweries between 30k to 80k BBL is booming. This market segment has seen the most rapid growth over the past two years. Understandably, not every craft brewery strives to be a 100k BBL company. But if you are a brewery that has broken the 30k BBL per year mark, you have most likely run into these production challenges.

  • Quality Tracking
  • Costing Analysis
  • Production Scheduling
  • Bar Code Data Collection

Challenge: Quality Tracking

Solution: Breweries need a solution that has the ability to store and track all QC test results by brew and recipe, so you can review test results over time and review the number of tests performed by recipe. Brews requiring significant adjustments can be easily identified and the recipes themselves can be reviewed. Also, this gives brewers the ability to adjust recipes based on QC data on the fly.

Challenge: Costing Analysis

Solution: Look for an ERP system that allows you to calculate accurate production costs and compare them to actual sales activity. This makes it easier to identify lower-margin brands. By tying an actual production cost to a brand, such as a seasonal brew, you can then take corrective actions if needed by increasing the selling price of the product or, if necessary, discontinuing a poor preforming recipe. Having this depth of cost analysis allows breweries to be able to see the actual profit per unit.

Challenge: Production Scheduling

Solution: First of all, get out of excel! At this point, if you are producing over 30k BBL, you need an forecast that integrates with production. Software such as Vicinity Brew, allows you to run production scheduling and material requirements planning (MRP). It does this by tracking data from sales order to forecast to brews. The production schedule can be derived from an MRP generation that includes sales orders and forecasts, so all demand for an item is considered during scheduling. If the demand for a given item is not reflected on the schedule, the system automatically notifies the scheduler. Breweries need to be able to make scheduling changes in real time and need to communicate these changes to as many departments as necessary. Keeping everyone informed helps departments set priorities for the production, quality and purchasing.

Challenge: Bar Code Data Collection

Solution:  There is nothing magical about bar code data collection. Simply find the best solution for your use. That is to say, look for an ERP system that supports bar code data collection across the entire application. Craft Breweries who are producing over 30k BBL may be needing to record production data on finished goods packaging in real time. A word of warning: when looking for an ERP solution for your brewery, make sure there is a solid integration with a reputable bar code data collection application such as Panatrack. If you already have an ERP solution make sure your systems are well under control before adding bar code data collection. Not doing either of these may cost your brewery greatly in the future. As they say “Bar code data collection is a tremendous thing.  A bad process gets repeated at the speed of light”.  So make sure your manual process is buttoned up prior to automating it with bar code data collection.

Check out these videos to see more information. Our next part will discuss the operational challenges of craft breweries who are over 100k BBL.

VicinityBrew provides the tools…

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VicinityBrew provides the tools to streamline production and increase profitability, explore features and functionality on our YouTube channel

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See how Vicinity works with Microsoft Dynamics ERP

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Brewery Management Solutions
Brewery Management Solutions

See how Vicinity works directly with Microsoft Dynamics to offer formula manufacturers the ultimate ERP solution!
GP Add-ons with VicinityBrew:

Vicinity Manufacturing Supports The Wounded Warrior Project

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As we take time to observe our Nation’s Independence Day, Vicinity Manufacturing wants to let you know how much we appreciate your continued patronage!

Thank you to our craft brewing clients for being such a loyal and dependable partners. VicinityBrew truly appreciates your business! We are excited to watch each brewery continue to grow and reach their goals. Craft Breweries epitomize the true meaning of the American Dream and entrepreneurial spirit that makes this country great.

Additionally, in support of our military service members, Vicinity Manufacturing has made a commitment to support the Wounded Warrior Project ith donations and volunteer hours.


The Wounded Warrior Project has core three core values:

🔹To raise awareness and enlist the public’s aid for the needs of injured service members.
🔹To help injured service members aid and assist each other.
🔹To provide unique, direct programs and services to meet the needs of injured service members.

How can you get involved with Wounded Warrior Project?

Visit their web site to learn more

We hope you have a safe and restful Independence Day celebration! Our offices will be closed this Thursday, July 4th to celebrate with our family and loved ones.


The VicinityBrew Team


“From Passion to Profits, Taking your Brewery to the Next Level” Part One

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“From Passion to Profits, Taking your Brewery to the Next Level” Part 1


If you have spent any time within the craft industry you will find few things:

1. It is the most fraternal and friendly group of people one can ever hope work with.

2. Not all breweries are created equal. More specifically…no two breweries are alike, period.

3. Most breweries are more interested in making exceptional beer than worrying about business and technology challenges. Let’s face it, this is a passionate, artistic group of people who are driven by craftsmanship more than profits.

But as the passion for great beer develops into a real, grown up business, certain key business factors must be addressed. Factors like: “How are we going to keep up with our growing demand?” Eventually, a brewery will come to the realization that they have a need to put solid business practices into place around accounting, distribution, compliance, and production.

A big misunderstanding in the craft brewing industry is that ERP software will be too expensive, too time consuming, and too much upkeep. This is simply not true. Now more than ever, breweries of all sizes have ERP software options designed for their size and budgets. Therefore, let me share my perspective on the IT brewery landscape.

I generally breakdown the craft brewing market into three different segments. I keep my categories simple – Small, Medium, and large.

Small is 5k BBL to 20k BBL, Medium is 20k BBL to 80k BBL, and large is anything over 80K BBL.

Let’s start by looking at three key issues small breweries under 20KBBL may be facing…

  • Lack of an integrating Accounting, Operations and Distribution
  • Poor Inventory Control
  • Formula Management

Challenge: Integrating Accounting, Operations and Distribution

Solution: Find a Brewery Management ERP system that provides a centralized database, making all master files and transactions available in one place. This allows for analysis at the click of a mouse. Microsoft Dynamics® and VicinityBrew include user-friendly query tools that allow even novices to build their own ad-hoc inquiries. Inquiries can also be printed and exported to Excel and saved for on-demand access.

Speed up month-end closing! VicinityBrew and Microsoft Dynamics provide a real-time financial, distribution, manufacturing and inventory-control system. As transactions are processed organization-wide, they’re posted directly to the financial records. Month-end financial statements and supporting schedules are prepared and issued with little effort.

Challenge: Poor Inventory Control

Solution: Craft Brewer’s need a software system that gives you the ability to analyze ongoing material requirements using existing sales orders or forecasts. In VicinityBrew, When MRP is run, material requirements are stored by date and quickly accessible for review. The result: Future capital requirements of inventory are easily identified. VicinityBrew lets you review anticipated raw-material shortages based on a centralized production schedule. Shortages can be calculated by item and day, and can take into account both lead time and safety stock. You can routinely review this data and create purchase orders for items and quantities to specified suppliers

Challenge: Recipe and Formula Management

Solution: Get off excel spreadsheet! VicinityBrew tracks recipes in a central database by both formula and version, it’s a snap to find the correct formula based on user-defined search criteria. This reduces a database of 10,000 formulas to a manageable level. Plus, you can create a new version of a formula from an existing version—and these new versions can be marked inactive until the lab has approved them for production. Once a formula version has run its course, it can be archived and also marked for view-only access.

Because brew logs are created directly from the master formula, all material substitutions or operational changes are reflected in all subsequent batches of the formula. So no worries about whether you’re working with the most accurate formula version possible.

VicinityBrew generates product spec sheets directly from the production formulas, ensuring that production changes are automatically updated on the spec sheet. That means consistent information across the production chain—and no unpleasant surprises for your customer.

Check out these videos to see more information. Our next blog will discuss the operational challenges of Mid-level breweries from the 20k BBL to 80k BBL range.