A common query from new brewers starting up is what applications to use to track their brewery operations. We have experimented with a number of things but we seem to have found the right solution with a mix of a conventional accounting program and the use of Google Spreadsheets for recipe creation, batch tracking, inventory tracking, warehouse tracking, and sales. It certainly pays to know a little bit of scripting and to have used Excel enough to know all the quick functions.
It was helpful after a month of operation to look back on what we were doing and to make the necessary corrections. Having this “live” data demonstrated where our previous system had fallen short and what could be done to improve upon it. We took a step back and did some pseudo coding to lay out how we wanted it to work and then made a series of different spreadsheets that could be linked when necessary but standalone for quick entry and viewing. Using Google Spreadsheets also brought some additional confidence in the system with its built-in change logging and storage in the cloud. It’s also easier to view and input from all devices (support Blackberry, Android, Mac, and Windows) and multiple editors is not an issue.
Brewing software may not seem like one of the most important pieces until it’s the piece that’s missing from a smooth operation!