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How vertical software helped lift a brewery to new heights

Vertical market software has been around for decades, but now big application vendors such as SAP and Oracle are pushing hard to get more vertical. In this video, a controller at a Colorado brewing company explains just how important vertical software is to his business.

Conner Helton, controller at Boulder-based Avery Brewing Co., said his company has to compete with massive brewers such as MillerCoors and Anheuser-Busch, as well as craft breweries. According to the Brewers Association, an American trade group, there were 2,822 breweries in the United States in 2013, a 15% increase over the previous year. So it is an increasingly difficult industry in which to gain a competitive edge and make a profit. Avery Brewing Co. does it in part by using vertical software integrated with SAP Business One enterprise resource planning (ERP) software.

"In our industry, we brew beer," Helton said. "And so the focus really has to be on how we make software that is easy for our brewers, who are guys that all they want to do is brew beer and drink beer. That's their love; that's their passion."

Avery Brewing runs vertical software called OrchestratedBeer from Beaverton, Oregon-based Orchestra LLC. Orchestra is a SAP partner, and its application runs on top of SAP Business One's ERP software platform. Helton said the vertical software helps his brewers focus on making beer rather than getting bogged down with the software.

"I can hire a guy that goes into the [brewery] kettle, [and] he's going to do his thing," Helton said. "He comes down, types in a few numbers and he's done in less than two minutes. He doesn't even know he's using accounting software behind the scenes. He just knows, 'I'm going to make some damn great beer.'"

For more, check out this video of Helton explaining the competition his company is up against, how vertical software helps, and the expenses for companies that customize software themselves when vertical software isn't fully functional.

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