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Overview

Sagamore Spirit is an authentic Maryland Rye Whiskey brand which went to market with their signature 83 proof rye whiskey. Sagamore Spirit were looking for a core accounting system with advanced manufacturing capabilities. The solution designed met the specific needs of their business and delivered a host of benefits.

Compatible with other industry specific module integrations

Easy to use user interface

Ability to handle the complexity of their business

Objective  

To provide core accounting functionality and advanced manufacturing capabilities from day one for the distiller’s operations.

Solution

SAP Business One

Organization

Historically, Maryland was a center of rye whiskey production in the US. In 2015, the Sagamore Spirit company began construction on their new rye whiskey distillery in Baltimore’s Port Covington neighborhood – one of the first distilleries built in Maryland since the beginning of Prohibition.  The five-acre distilling complex includes a 22,000 sq ft distillery building, a 27,000 sq ft welcome and processing center, with a gift store, and two tasting rooms.  It was completed in 2017, at which time Sagamore Spirit began production and opened their doors to the public.

Why SAP Business One?

Sagamore Spirit is innovating the great tradition of rye whiskey in Maryland, and now has a presence in 35 markets across the US. As Drew Thorn, Sagamore’s VP of Finance & Operations, explains, “As a start-up, before we began production or took on employees, we were running our business on an accounting system, but that was essentially an electronic checkbook. So, before we began building out the company, we recognized the need for a comprehensive ERP solution that we could rely on from day one.”

American alcoholic beverage products are highly regulated, as the sector remains subject to many Prohibition-era rules. “I was already very familiar with the operational and regulatory challenges of the beverage alcohol industry, having previously worked for a brewery. I had shopped around for a platform to replace many of the proprietary systems in a brewery’s operations. So when I joined Sagamore Spirit, I naturally gravitated towards SAP Business One, which is a very approachable ERP solution that is easy to use while handling a tremendous amount of complexity. Our CFO selected Sapphire as our implementation partner, for their substantial experience, capabilities and resources.”

The Benefits

The initial implementation of SAP Business One took place at the end of 2015, and involved considerable complexity. Drew recalls, “Sapphire did a fantastic job of the system design and build, implementation, and migration. That meant on day-one the business was prepared to meet its long-term goals, with SAP Business One as its backbone. Then, before we began production, we integrated an advanced process manufacturing add-on built for SAP Business One to manage grain-to-glass production, and maintain compliance with regulatory requirements for excise tax reporting. The last piece of the puzzle was to be able to produce a full breakdown of fixed assets, so Sapphire facilitated the secondary implementation of the fixed asset module, which works fabulously.”

“SAP Business One meets our requirements so comprehensively that we haven’t yet needed any customization, but we are using more and more of the system’s native capabilities as we hit our stride. Today, our Finance team relies heavily on the data we get out of SAP Business One for business decision-making, from on-the-ground management to executive-level strategy. We achieve this through a combination of real-time reporting, power pivots and Power BI. The ability to take data straight out of a SQL database and turn it into actionable insight is very valuable. We also have mobile functionality for our expense approval workflow – our team is often in the field so we wanted different tiers of management to have remote visibility into the checks we cut. And we’re in the process of expanding access to SAP Business One to our operations team, so they’ll be able to directly enter production orders,” Drew continues. 

“Everything we do today is made possible with SAP Business One. Our longer-term plan is to become a global company, in what is the fastest growing category in spirits. We’re already expanding rapidly, and our vision from the start was that SAP Business One would have the robustness to carry us into the future. We can’t foresee outgrowing the platform – just adding more reporting tools and growing with it.”

Working with Sapphire

“We have an excellent relationship with Sapphire, whose consultants worked as an extension of our own team and were incredibly helpful to our implementation. Today, we lean on them less frequently – mostly for troubleshooting and helpdesk support on an ad hoc basis.” What would be Drew’s recommendation to other businesses looking to implement an ERP solution? “SAP Business One has a ton of capabilities and you probably won’t need them all, but you do need to know your business and take an active role in shaping the way you want the solution to be designed and built out. That’s how we were able to get the most out of our ERP investment, and our relationship with Sapphire,” concludes Drew. 

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