On a hot summer day, there’s nothing the average guy wants more than a cold beer. However, if you happen to work at a brewery, there’s a lot more to buying beer than just buying barley, hops, and yeast, especially if you are a specialty brewer brewing specialty beers. I guess that’s why I found the recent article Brewer keeps his buying simple in Purchasing Magazine so enticing (or maybe it was just the fact it was a hot day and I wanted a cold beer … who knows for sure?).
The article describes how Mass Bay Brewing Co. needs to buy enough raw materials, bottles, carriers, cases and kegs to get almost 3.1 million gallons of malted alcoholic beverages into a 23-state area east of the Mississippi, in addition to ingredients and packaging for a new soft drink product line. More specifically, Mass Bay Brewing Co. needs to buy 5.5 million lbs of 10 different kinds of malts, 65,000 lbs of six types of hops, various fruit flavoring and spices, and up to five weekly truckloads of 2,800 cases of bottles.
However, as this article points out, the buying process does not have to be complex. Using open RFQs, eTools, and a consistent preferred supplier base can keep the process simple. Considering that choice raw materials and careful brewing performance is required to produce a quality product that meets the “standards for beer”, using known suppliers who consistently provide quality materials is often more important than price.
On a personal note, I had the worst 12 hour span of my life, in Boston -1996, specifically because of Harpoon IPA. Fortunately, I “recovered” just in time for the wedding reception to begin and start the whole process over again. I might need to see if Mass Bay Brewing had any sort of quality disruption because the only other possible cause would be related to excessive quantity. That beer is seriously good, be careful!