Buy your brewing supplies here

We now have a range of base and specialty malts for sale. A catalog and new website is coming soon. Let us know what you need and we will sell it to you or special order it for you. Please bear with us during this initial stage and we will have the full service shop available in no time.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Taxes, Cashflow, Inventory, Accounting Software....where's the Farming?

Lots of not quite visible productivity going on here on Windy Hill.  We decided that we needed to bite the bullet and start using a decent accounting package, especially now that we have started buying and selling serious quantities of inventory.  We first started with Quickbooks On-line.  The base version is ~$12/month and does almost everything we need.  We sent out a series of invoices and recorded payments.  However, it has a serious limitation for inventory capabilities.  Since we already have a few dozen items we anticipate an easy and functional inventory systems as being key to keeping this endeavor fun.

Our priorities here are Family, Fun, Quality Beer, Community, Sustainability and Profitability.  We can't let the "business" parts interfere with with our reasons for doing this.  So not having a good inventory program conflicts with the fun criteria.  Strangely, to get to an online version of the program with inventory it requires going up two levels with a price of ~$40/month.  That challenges the sustainability and profitability criteria.  Fortunately, a reasonable solution was found with the program version of quickbook pro, which is currently on sale for ~$180 (20% discount).  This allows inventory and is much less expensive than the online version. This blog entry is being written while waiting for it to download; our internet access sucks.  That is a topic for another entry, but suffice it to say that we eagerly await the broadband equivalent of the rural electrification project.  We only live 1-2 miles from friends that have internet speeds of 2-6Mb/s for less than what we pay for 500Kb/s.

On the more exciting and positive front, we finally got our first big malt order together.  In the sense of community and cooperation, we are working with John Huber of Homebrew Supply of Southeast Missouri to combine our orders in order to save on freight shipping and garner additional savings by purchasing in even greater quantities.  John has been tremendously helpful in getting our business going and we are extremely thankful for his help.  It is really encouraging to see that we are working together to provide services for homebrewers in southern Illinois and southeast Missouri, rather than viewing each other as competitors.  In addition, a local friendly business is allowing the use of their loading dock to receive freight shipping since we don't yet have that capability.  It is really cool how this is all coming together through a sense of community, all for the purpose of encouraging the growth of great beer in southern Illinois.

For some real beer related news, we now have so many hops we had to buy a new freezer to put them in.  We won't break the vacuum on these right away because we need to obtain mylar bags to properly repackage and store them.  The newest trend in hop storage is actually loose packing with inert gas (usually nitrogen) and we are setting up to package using this method.  We want to guarantee freshness in our hops.  You will note on our labels, in addition to the normal information, the harvest year and the date we repackaged.  They will be in cold storage for the entire time we have them.  Additionally, the hops we sell that are not grown on-site are purchased from a grower/wholesaler in Washington that controls the harvest, processing and packaging to ensure freshness.  No more wondering about how many years your hops have sat in a dusty room.

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