Thinking big

Microbrewery Aotearoa Breweries opted for a computer system that matched the big boys’ despite the upfront cost.

According to the company blurb, SAP Business All-in-One is targeted at companies with revenues from around the $100 million mark up to $1 billion. Or “put it this way”, says Bratton, “the software we put into Aotearoa Breweries is exactly the same software we put into Fonterra”. (Yet Aotearoa’s turnover this financial year is likely to hit just $250,000.)

To date, Magan estimates the business has cost him, Viitakangas and their business partners, Viitakangas’ mum and dad, Gloria and Jouni, close to $500,000. The SAP system cost them about the same amount as they paid for all their brewing equipment, bought from a defunct brewery in Wellington for $45,000 from the Trade and Exchange website. But it is money well spent, says Magan, now the brewery is being recognised and sought out for its beer.

With its Foodstuffs supply deal, its second export order from Japan for 100 cases of beer, and plans for expansion in the South Island and the US, as well as into Finland and India through family connections, Aotearoa Breweries is planning to upscale its facilities to increase batch production from 1,000 litres to 5,000 litres this year. But with all that selling to do the family members running the brewery are going to be on the road a lot. Fortunately that relatively expensive computer system includes comprehensive, secure remote-access capabilities, says Magan. “It’s simply essential for a company with such few staff. Basically it allows us to concentrate on the business. We don’t have to think about the day-to-day tasks so much.”

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