Features to Look for in a Distillery Management Solution

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In today’s competitive spirits industry, efficient management is the key to staying ahead. Whether you’re a small craft distillery or a large-scale operation, the right distillery management solution can streamline your processes, improve quality control, and boost profitability. But with so many options on the market, how do you choose the right one?


What Features Should I Look for in a Distillery Management Solution?

Selecting the right distillery management solution is crucial for ensuring efficient operations, regulatory compliance, and financial accuracy in your distillery. A comprehensive distillery management system should cover various aspects of production, inventory management, and reporting. However, it is important to note that not all features are available in every distillery management solution, nor do they all offer the same depth or detail of functionality. Therefore, it is essential to identify which features are most important to your operation and select the system that provides the best fit.

Here’s a detailed look at the features and functionality areas you could consider:

Production Management

  • Raw Material Management and Consumption: Efficiently track and manage the inventory of raw materials, ensuring accurate monitoring of consumption rates and stock levels.
  • Batch Recipes: Keep detailed records of each batch from start to finish, while maintaining and modifying recipes for different products to ensure consistency in production.
  • Fermentation/Distillation Process Management: Oversee and control the entire fermentation and distillation processes, ensuring each step meets quality standards and optimising production efficiency.

Bulk Spirit Management

  • Receipt of Spirit from Distillation or External Source: Efficiently manage the receipt of bulk spirits, whether produced in-house or sourced externally, ensuring accurate documentation and tracking.
  • Vat/Tank Management: Oversee the storage of spirits in vats and tanks, tracking movements and recording any losses or gains accurately.
  • Transfer of Spirits Between Owners and/or Locations: Manage and track the transfer of spirits between different owners and locations, ensuring accurate documentation and regulatory compliance.
  • Interfaces to Barrel Filling Systems: Support multiple barrel filling methods (average, metered, weight) through seamless integration with barrel filling systems, ensuring accuracy and efficiency in the filling process.
  • Age of the Youngest Spirit Calculation: Calculate the age of the spirit following any operation that combines spirits of multiple ages, based on the principles of AYS (Age of Youngest Spirit), to support legal minimum age requirements and accurate age statements on bottled products.

Barrel Inventory Management

  • Fully Scalable: Supports barrel inventory of any size, from a few thousand to a few million barrels, with no performance degradation, ensuring smooth operations regardless of scale.
  • Batch Level or Individual Barrel Level: Work efficiently at both the batch level or individual barrel level, providing flexibility and detailed oversight according to operational needs.
  • Detailed Inventory Records: Maintain comprehensive records for each barrel, including visibility of spirit age, owner, location, value, volume, and other critical details, ensuring precise tracking and management.
  • Inventory Allocations: Simplify the inventory management process by attaching groups of barrels to an allocation number with an associated reason for reservation, enabling quick processing of transactions such as ownership transfers, end-product reservations, or specific operations.
  • Barrel Scanning: Enhance the accuracy and efficiency of barrel inventory management through barcode or RFID tag scanning capabilities.
    • Record Detailed Position Information: Drastically simplify the processes involved in capturing and maintaining precise position data for every barrel.
    • Work Orders: Create work orders that guide warehouse operators directly to the barrels selected for withdrawal or inclusion in an operation.
    • Validate Barrels: Identify and confirm barrels for inclusion in movement or dumping operations based on work orders.
    • Stock Take/Inventory Counts: Easily validate warehouse contents and barrel positions against inventory records, facilitating accurate stock takes and inventory counts.

Warehouse Management

  • Support for Multiple Warehouse Types: Accommodate various warehouse configurations, such as racked, dunnage, palletised, and estiba warehouses, with detailed tracking of barrel position data.
  • Graphical Overview of Barrel Locations: Provide a visual representation of barrel locations using warehouse maps, enabling easy identification and management of inventory.
  • Warehouse Vacuity Analysis: Conduct analysis of current and future warehouse vacuity (free space), ensuring optimal utilisation of storage capacity.
  • Calculation of Warehouse Rents: Automatically calculate warehouse rents and generate storage invoices for third-party inventory, streamlining financial management and billing processes.

Finished Product Recipe Management

  • Record and Manage Blend/Finished Product Recipes: Maintain detailed records of blend and finished product recipes, ensuring consistency and quality across production batches.
  • Inventory Allocation Assistance: Assist users in allocating inventory for dumping based on product recipes, streamlining the selection process and ensuring accurate ingredient proportions.
  • Expected Yield Calculation: Calculate the expected yield of barrels identified for dumping, providing precise estimates to support production planning and inventory management.

Cased & Dry Goods Management 

  • Raw Materials Management and Consumption: Efficiently track and manage the inventory of dry materials required for the bottling process, ensuring accurate monitoring of consumption rates and stock levels.
  • Purchase Order Management: Handle purchase orders for raw materials, maintaining oversight of order status and supplier information.
  • Reorder Point Reporting: Generate reports on materials reaching reorder points, enabling timely restocking and preventing production delays.
  • Case Specifications Management: Manage detailed specifications for cases, ensuring consistency in packaging and labelling.
  • Bottling Runs and Dry Goods Consumption: Oversee bottling runs and track the consumption of dry goods in case production, ensuring efficient use of resources.
  • Sales Invoice Generation: Automatically generate sales invoices for cased goods, streamlining the billing process and ensuring accurate financial records.

Regulatory Compliance

  • Automated Regulatory Reporting: Generate and auto-populate standardised reports required by regulatory bodies, such as HMRC and TTB, ensuring timely and accurate submissions.
  • Comprehensive Transaction Ledger: Maintain a detailed transaction ledger that supports internal and external audits, providing a complete history of all inventory movements, adjustments, and transactions.
  • Compliance with Legal Requirements: Ensure compliance with legal minimum age requirements and other regulations, using features like the calculation of the Age of Youngest Spirit (AYS) to support accurate age statements on bottled products.
  • Documentation and Audit Trails: Produce and manage essential documentation, such as despatch documents, transport of spirit in bond, and transfer certificates, maintaining thorough audit trails to support regulatory compliance.


  • Costing Models and Inventory Valuation: Utilise multiple costing models to set and maintain inventory valuations, allowing for periodic price changes and detailed financial analysis.
  • Invoice Generation: Automatically generate invoices for various operations, including sales, warehouse rentals, filling fees, blending charges, and handling fees, ensuring accurate and efficient billing processes.
  • Integration with ERP/Accounting Systems: Seamlessly integrate with existing ERP and accounting systems, ensuring comprehensive financial oversight and streamlined data transfer between systems.


  • Extensive Range of Standard Reports: Access a comprehensive library of standard reports, including detailed and summary formats, providing insights into inventory and transaction data.
  • Flexible Enquiries and Data Extracts: Perform flexible enquiries and extract data on inventory and transactions, enabling customised analysis and reporting.
  • Export to Excel: Export data from any screen to Excel, facilitating easy manipulation and further analysis of information.
  • Customisable Report Writing: Utilise report writing functionality to generate reports on inventory and transaction data, with output to customisable Excel templates for tailored reporting needs.
  • Dashboards and Real-Time Analytics: Use live dashboards and real-time analytics to gain actionable insights, helping to identify and address operational issues promptly and enabling effective monitoring of plant utilisation and inventory management.

Empty Barrel Management

  • Barrel Orders and Shipping: Manage barrel orders and shipping logistics while monitoring supplier performance to ensure timely and accurate deliveries.
  • Empty Barrel Inventory: Maintain an accurate count of empty barrel inventory by barrel type and location, facilitating efficient resource management.
  • Barrel Utilisation Tracking: Track barrel utilisation and events, including monitoring the time barrels remain empty, to optimise usage and turnaround times.
  • Cooperage Activity Management: Manage cooperage activities and track barrel repairs, ensuring barrels are maintained in optimal condition for reuse.

Forward Planning

  • Demand Forecast Integration: Combine detailed spirit inventory data with finished product recipes and demand forecasts to provide valuable insights into spirit inventory utilisation and production requirements over any planning horizon.
  • Monitor Warehouse Capacity and Utilisation: Analyse warehouse utilisation to inform critical decisions about capacity, identifying construction requirements in advance to ensure readiness and prevent storage shortages.
  • Detailed Planning Outputs: Generate detailed outputs including a distillation plan, empty barrel requirements, warehouse utilisation forecasts, and identification of surplus inventory, supporting comprehensive forward planning and resource management.



Introducing DRAMS Distillery Management Solution

DRAMS has 50 years of experience providing tailored products and services to the distilled and aged spirits industry. Our solution is designed to manage the intricate processes involved in the movement and maturation of bulk spirits and barrel inventories.

Key Features of DRAMS:
  1. Bulk Inventory Management: DRAMS efficiently manages bulk spirits from initial receipt to final dispatch for bottling, ensuring end-to-end traceability and accurate documentation.
  2. Barrel Inventory Management: With unique ID tracking for each barrel, DRAMS provides detailed records of age, type, volume, and location. It also supports legal age requirements and maturation loss calculations.
  3. Warehouse Management: The system offers detailed overviews of multi-location, multi-warehouse environments, complete with graphical warehouse reports to visualise inventory distribution and available storage space.
  4. Blending/End-Product Recipe Management: DRAMS allows for dynamic spirit selection criteria, ensuring consistency and quality across production batches while adapting to inventory fluctuations.
  5. Regulatory Compliance: DRAMS generates standardised reports for HMRC and TTB, ensuring compliance with various regulatory requirements and supporting audit processes with detailed transaction histories.
  6. Reporting and Analytics: With over 100 standard reports, DRAMS provides extensive insights into inventory and transaction data, helping you make informed decisions and improve operational efficiency.
  7. Integration Capabilities: DRAMS seamlessly integrates with ERP and accounting systems, enhancing overall business visibility and operational management.

Get a full insight into what features DRAMS has to offer by downloading our Features Overview Guide.

In addition to the core Distillery Management Solution, which you can download the full brochure for, DRAMS offers a range of modules which can be used to extend and specialise the functionality of the system into a variety of key operational areas.  This modular approach provides the flexibility to create a solution tailored to the specific functionality needs of the business and ensures it can adapt it in line with changing business demands.


DRAMS Modules Include:
  • DRAMS Scan: Enhance inventory accuracy and efficiency of barrel inventory management through barcode or RFID tag scanning capabilities.
  • DRAMS Print: Print cask and warehouse location labels directly from DRAMS, ensuring consistent and accurate barcode data, eliminating duplicate labels, and improving labelling efficiency.
  • Wood Management: Track every barrel from purchase to inventory, capturing all usage and repairs. Improved tracking and visibility reduce wastage, boost efficiency, and ensure product quality and consistency.
  • Long-Term Planning: Integrate detailed spirit inventory data with demand forecasts to provide insights into inventory utilisation, production requirements and warehousing capacity.
  • DRAMS BI: Access enhanced reporting capabilities and real-time analytics for deeper insights and better decision-making.
  • DRAMS Bottled: Monitor inventory of materials used in case production, track material orders and consumption, and manage finished cases across multiple locations and warehouses.
  • DRAMS Flow: Enable real-time integration with barrel filling systems, validating filling details and updating DRAMS inventory in real-time for improved operational efficiency and visibility.
  • DRAMS EMCS: Simplify the movement of excise goods in duty suspension within the EU by integrating with the Excise Movement and Control System, automating despatch data uploads and ARC inclusion on documentation.


DRAMS is fully scalable and has been successfully implemented worldwide by producers of all sizes, including leading spirits producers such as Jose Cuervo, Bacardi, and William Grant & Sons. Its highly specialised functionality covers key aspects of the distillery management process, making it an invaluable tool for distilleries of all sizes.

DRAMS has extensive experience working with various spirit types, including Scotch Whisky, Irish Whiskey, Canadian Whisky, American Whiskey (including Bourbon), Tequila, and Cognac.

By choosing DRAMS, you ensure that your distillery is equipped with a state-of-the-art management solution that grows with your business, providing the insights and controls needed to thrive in the competitive spirits market.

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DRAMS is 100% focused on bulk stocks and distillery management. We understand that the movement and maturation of spirit is a unique process that demands a truly dedicated software solution. That’s why we first created DRAMS over 50 years ago – and we’ve been improving and expanding it ever since.


For more information about DRAMS and all our products and services, complete the form to speak to a consultant or arrange a demo.


What our
clients say…

Whether your distillery is large or small, near or far, one thing remains the same: our clients love our software and support. But don’t take our word for it; here’s what  they have to say…

Branding Dots
Rab Sorman
I know where every spirit is, how it’s maturing, and how it fits into the bigger picture… this plays a crucial role in future blends
Whisky Stocks and Blending Manager, Glenmorangie
Alistair Paton
It does make such a difference talking to knowledgeable people who have years of experience dealing with our specialised industry and who are always prepared to go the extra mile.
Project Manager, The Tomatin Distillery Co.
Ron Welsh
DRAMS is a great inventory management system. It allows me to quickly analyse the stocks we have and what we can use it for; and allows us to easily allocate to future blends.
Master Blender and Strategic Inventory Manager, Beam Suntory
Christine Leggat
Every piece of spirit that moves within the business is captured within DRAMS.
Stock Controller, Inver House Distillers
John Kerr
The knowledge of DRAMS’ consultants – both of their product and of bulk stock processing as a whole – gave us a solid platform to work from.
Bulk Planner, John Dewar & Sons
Ron Welsh
You need to know exactly what you have and when it becomes of age to put into bottle. For this you require granularity of month by month data.
Master Blender and Strategic Inventory Manager, Beam Suntory
David Jordan
For any warehouse, any floor, rick and level, I can see what stock is there and how much space I have at the push of a button.
Maturing Inventory Manager, Wild Turkey