The Real Costs Of DIY Craft Beer E-Commerce: Part 1 of 2: Staff

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The Real Costs Of DIY Craft Beer E-Commerce: Part 1 of 2: Staff & Labor expenses

Labor is Expensive. 

Craft beer labor expenses for are very real. One example in how this materializes is from non-mission critical endeavors, like running a branded merchandise and e-commerce program.

Most craft breweries got their start because their founder enjoyed drinking and brewing great beer. In addition to being uninspired by their day jobs, they combined their passion and inspiration to start a business.

First, the beer recipes were developed and nurtured to life. Then came the creation of an iconic name. From there, a logo design emerged, a website took shape, and work shirts, hats, glassware, and tap handles came to life.

As the brewery broke ground and taprooms bustled with customers, most brewers started to realize there were new activities that required their attention: capital, cash flow, raw materials, distribution, canning, label design, legal expenses, staffing, events.

Great companies prosper when leaders select and build great teams. This is especially true for the brewing category since their business is so deeply built upon on the customer experience.  

As these breweries grow, small tasks mushroom and begin to chip away at the focus of these teams’ core duties. 

Initially, e-commerce orders are small and infrequent. But as a brewery expands the task of processing orders can grow into an outsized time commitment that often ties up portions of several employees’ days, since processing orders, packing, and shipping can be big departures from the brewing process.

Consider this staffing equation: 

FTE staff members to manage branded merch / e-commerce:

Staff                      Salary          % of time related to e-commerce       corresponding benefits     total labor expense

Employee #1         $40,000                              25%                                                                  12%                                              $11,200

Employee #2         $40,000                             50%                                                                  12%                                              $22,400

Employee #3         $40,000                             75%                                                                   12%                                             $33,600

Total salary dedicated to e-commerce and branded merch: $67,200

Craft breweries grow more quickly by selling more beer, than by selling more t-shirts. Providing an e-commerce platform that allows these employees to refocus on making great beer and serving customers will be the most efficient way for a brewer to continue to grow their business.

Could your craft brewery use more effective $67,200 per year? Then it’s time to adopt an e-commerce inventory management system.  

Interested in seeing how this math plays out specifically for your brewery?

Call me and I’ll put together a proforma for you. 434-260-5889 >

Next up, Part 2.

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