How Intuit and Ekos are powering prosperity in the craft beverage industry

What do Ekos, the developer of a leading management software solution for craft producers, and Intuit® have in common? They believe in powering prosperity for small businesses, their software is designed to meet the specific needs of their users, and Ekos and Intuit QuickBooks are, according to Ekos’s Director of Strategic Partnerships Landon Funsten, “must-have pieces of software to run a craft beverage business.”

The story of Ekos and QuickBooks

The craft industry is filled with skilled creators of specialty goods. They are often entrepreneurs who have set up small, independent businesses to share their handmade products with potential customers. Craft breweries, wineries, and cideries are perfect examples.

Captivated by the craft brewing process, the Ekos founders witnessed craft-based businesses using clipboards and spreadsheets to manage their increasingly complex processes. Ekos could see that it was a very inefficient way to run a business, so they designed affordable, easy-to-use software that met the specific needs of craft brewmasters that eventually included cider makers, wine makers, and other craft makers.

According to a recent market analysis conducted by Ekos, 96 percent of breweries and 90 percent of cideries use QuickBooks and Ekos. “Ekos users rely on QuickBooks and find it to be a key part of their technology stack,” says Landon. “The two products complement each other. QuickBooks provides the foundation for accounting and Ekos is the central hub for the entire business, including inventory, production, sales, and accounting information.”

Using Intuit’s open APIs, Ekos integrated with QuickBooks Online and Desktop, which was a top priority, according to Landon.

The Ekos-QuickBooks integration means Ekos’s customers can:

  • Streamline their operations.
  • Easily pull accurate financial data as well as data for the Tax and Trade Bureau, or other compliance requirements.
  • Eliminate manual data entry and reconciliation.

For Ekos customer Adam Hickernell, head of distribution at Wolf’s Ridge Brewing, the integration has been a huge time saver. “Previously, we were using a system that didn’t sync with QuickBooks. Every night as I prepared logistics for orders, I had to reproduce every order in two places. Ekos makes all your invoices for you and syncs with QuickBooks. I’m easily saving 5 to 10 hours per week.”

Kelly Fitch, an accountant at Three Notch’d Brewing Company, says, “The nice thing about Ekos is that all brewery invoices automatically come over to QuickBooks. On the distributor side, we generate 50 to 60 invoices each day that have to be synced with QuickBooks. Without the Ekos sync, it would be horrible.”

As Landon points out, time is a valuable commodity for small businesses. The customers who have integrated with QuickBooks report savings of 15 to 20 hours per week, allowing them to focus on value-adding activities.

“Leveraging technology can have a major impact on business growth and Ekos customers grew their production at a 20 percent higher rate than the average brewery in the market, according to data from the Brewers’ Association,” says Landon.

Ekos, Intuit, and COVID-19

How have these small, independent businesses handled COVID-19?

“In mid-March when breweries, restaurants and tap rooms were forced to close, we immediately saw our customers shift to e-commerce, curbside pickup, and delivery in order to reach consumers,” says Landon. “This quick action is one of the main reasons why this industry has been able to stay afloat and survive during this difficult time.”

Staying afloat and surviving has also, unfortunately, meant staff layoffs, but business owners are recognizing how digital solutions such as Ekos and QuickBooks are able to drive necessary efficiencies. “Ekos and QuickBooks are key parts of lean business management, allow craft producers to streamline their operations, and free up more time to make beer, wine or cider, connect with customers, and deal with challenges as they arise.”

To help support their customers even further, Ekos has offered sage advice, including Beer Marketing in a Crisis and Driving Revenue to Your Craft Beverage Business During COVID-19. Similarly, the Intuit team has addressed customer concerns with ways to help teams succeed in a remote environment and offering a list of 10 free resources for children while staying at home.

Ekos’s and Intuit’s collaboration is powering prosperity for small businesses within the craft industry, and Intuit can do the same for your small business.