In August 2021, Ska Fabricating CEO Jim Mackay delved into business planning on the Brewers Association Happy Hour series. He discussed predicting and preparing for the future during and after the pandemic, with high-level tips to help future proof your brewery (or craft beverage business): Get creative; Consider labor costs; and Automate, automate, automate!

GET CREATIVE

Getting creative on ways to cut labor and packaging costs can allow you to focus your resources on more important and pressing demands of your brewery business. 

It might not be a good time to increase the cost of beer itself, Jim says, but craft breweries can instead cut costs by repurposing shipping boxes, reducing the expense of packaging materials by selling individual cans, or collaborating with suppliers on long-term plans. You can work with your supplier to request delayed price increases for being a loyal client, for example. 

It is easier to prepare for the future than to predict it, Jim says. You can use retail as a sort of buffer through rough times and diversify revenue streams. During the Covid-19 pandemic outbreak in 2020, people got caught scrambling because they didn’t have much of a retail focus to fall back on when their taprooms and business had to close down.

CONSIDER LABOR COSTS

In this current labor shortage, investing in your people has never been more important, Jim says. Hire good people who are the right fit for the job, and invest in them. Look for people who want to help you develop the overall footprint of your company and help it successfully move forward. 

We recommend searching for these pros on Brewbound and ProBrewer, as a start. Coming from a small town, Ska Fabricating also understands the value of hiring within your community if you can.

AUTOMATE , AUTOMATE, AUTOMATE!

Infographic from Wild Goose Filling.

To allow the people working on your canning lines to focus on the quality of the beer and other aspects of your business, automation is key. For as little as $60,000 in packing line equipment, you can support more efficient packaging line automation and recoup costs of equipment more quickly. 

Craft breweries can invest in Ska Fabricating depalletizing equipment for as little as $20,000, and build your canning lines from there. In this instance, you can have as little as two people running the depalletizer and produce anywhere from 30 to 100 cans per minute. More complicated depalletizers require manual labor but produce up to 600 cans per minute. Volume and speed decisions are critical in deciding what kind of depalletizer is most effective for your business.

Is The Nimbus Right For You?

Our newest can depalletizer, The Nimbus, is the perfect piece of equipment for smaller breweries that don’t have the space or (wo)man power to operate bigger machinery. It’s our most portable yet, built for the ease of moveable and simple set-up and take-down. 

Watch the entire Happy Hour HERE.