Traceability - Beau's Brewery

Ingrid Clark, Narrator

Beau's All Natural Brewing Company in Vankleek Hill is a family run craft brewery. They create unique, certified organic beer products with a focus on local markets. With expansion plans on the horizon, they were looking to increase efficiencies and improve quality with a traceability system that would grow along with their business.
Steve Beauchesne, Beau's Brewery
Traceability for the business, for Beau's, is huge. [ ] we're now at a point where we're serving two thousand customers every week. And getting the right thing to the right customer at the right time has become incredibly important and without being able to properly trace products from packaging to [and actually right from the raw materials that come to us], to the final customer we just lose all the ability to make sure our customers are getting what they need to when they need to get it.
And things like having this traceability ability in the system, is what's going to allow us to start tracking these efficiencies and really develop a lean production environment.
Traceability for us starts with planning what we're going to make by looking at what we're selling in the marketplace. So we're able to provide our malt suppliers and our other suppliers with very detailed forecasts based on usability trends. Now everything is bin-managed. So as grain comes in, as bottle caps and bottles, they all get scanned on the way in and the system knows exactly which part of the racking it sits in.
From there it moves into the production. So the brewing team uses the traceability system, and basically as they use the raw materials and convert them into the wort and then finally the green beer and the bright beer and into the packaged beer, the system follows it all the way along. So we can look at the system and say, ok we've got this much beer that's in fermentation, this much beer that's aging, this much beer that's packaged. We can see it the whole way through.
After packaging, again it moves into bin management. So we know that we have 20 skids of this particular brand and we know exactly which spots of which warehouses it's sitting in.
Bringing the system in has streamlined the process. Now, when the order comes in, it all comes in to a central database. The database itself sorts which location it's going to leave from, right down to what truck's going to take it. The driver picks it up in the morning. There is confirmation that is done digitally.
All of our drivers have hand-held tools that can scan the individual cases or kegs that go to each individual customer. So that way we can follow that right to the final customer.

We've been able to work with our partners to be able to keep that traceability even while it's in someone else's truck. Which is huge for us and it's able to really build that value chain for us.
Ingrid Clark
Beau's has advice for other businesses looking to implement a traceability system.
Steve Beauchesne
Make sure that you build the buy-in from everybody in the team. One of the things that I think is great about Beau's is that because we've been growing so fast, no one's ever gotten used to one way of doing anything. So we're always ready for that next change. But a change of this magnitude, even for a company that is sort of pre-geared for change, is very difficult, because every single thing that we used to do we had to look at and say well how are we do this to maintain the integrity of the data.
The best part about the system that we've purchased, is it can grow with us from - when we purchased the system we had about 75-85 employees. This will grow with us till the point where we're at 2,000 employees.
Once you've got your systems in place, you can go beyond your local market. You can start exporting, you can do so much more. So while I believe that traceability is vital for local food, it will also allow local food producers to export, to look at broader markets than just their local territory.
Ingrid Clark
To learn more about how Ontario businesses are using traceability to their advantage, visit

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