5 Ways Distillery Software Simplifies Running a Craft Distillery

5 Ways Distillery Software Simplifies Running a Craft Distillery

Running a distillery is hard work, and it isn’t just in the physical labor side of things we are talking about here. The owner and managers are always on the move. There are the usual things like playing phone tag with vendors, staff meetings, meeting outgoing orders, reordering ingredients, bottles, and other raw materials. Then there are the wildcard days where you find out that part of the rackhouse’s roof is leaking, the company van decides to break down on the interstate, or a critical worker calls out with the flu on the worst possible day to call out on. Once all those fires are contained, it’s time to make sure all the paperwork is in order – assuming it wasn’t the paperwork that had to be done in the middle of said fires.

Any distiller with half a lick of sense already knows this, but even the best can let things slide by accident out of sheer exhaustion. Here are some of the common gaps that a distiller might leave in their record keeping.

Batching and Blending Records

One thing the TTB will do is check if a distillery is keeping precise records of ingredients and additives to any spirit made. This part of the process can leave a distillery looking like a dumpster of old notebooks turned over. That is fine, as long as the final result of all these notes is an easy to read and verifiable record for the TTB to look at. 

Tank Logs

Craft distilleries aren't like big operations like the one in Lynchburg where you would see more than a few large and permanent storage tanks. Many craft distilleries still use tanks, in an off-site capacity. Always keep track of the amount of product that spent time in a tank, no matter where it is.

Bottling Records

Keeping track of where the finished product gets shipped, and how much is held in inventory can be a chore. The date it was made, the proof, the total amount shipped, etc. all have to be meticulously recorded. This goes beyond being compliant for tax purposes. Not knowing how much stock you have, or where it went leads to losses where the tax liability can still yours to bear. 

Transfer In Bond Docs

It isn't uncommon for small distilleries to bring in base spirits produced from an outside source. When that happens, the original producer should send the Transfer In Bond documents with it. That doesn’t always happen. You need this because it shows vital information like proof, amount of gallons, the type of spirit received among other things. If you don’t get one with the shipment, don’t wait for the other distiller to remember and send it. Bug them until they send it over.

Withdrawals From Bond

If it gets sold or moved from your distillery, there needs to be a record of the sale. This includes sample bottles, what gets drunk in the tasting room, or even keychains and t-shirts. Think of it as the final tax record the TTB will want to see so they can make sure everything before it adds up.

Conclusion

Whatever temptation you might have, no matter how exhausted you are, no matter how bad you just want to call it a day and go home, do not skip the paperwork. Half-assing it is a bad idea. Even ninety-nine percent-assing it is a bad idea. Complete and accurate paperwork and bookkeeping is your only defense against the TTB. The TTB doesn’t have to prove that you did wrong so much as show that you may have done something wrong. At best, they will chalk it up to an honest mistake on your part and make you pay up, whether or not you owe anything. The burden of proof is on you when it comes to taxes. That’s why meticulous and accurate records are so vital.