craft brewing industry
Five questions regarding excise tax automation with Kevin Rasmussen, co-founder of EthoTech.
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.
“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.
- Vicinity Manufacturing Supports The Wounded Warrior Project (vicinitybrew.wordpress.com)
- “IT’S NOT YOU, IT’S ME….” Breaking Up with QuickBooks
- The Economics of Craft Beer (smartasset.com)
- Uncle Leo’s Brewery Has Successful Opening Canada Day Weekend (atlanticcanadabeerblog.wordpress.com)