Trending
MOST READ
Beaches Be Trippin\': Five Texas Coast Spots Worth the Drive

Beaches Be Trippin': Five Texas Coast Spots Worth the Drive

Arts & Culture: Let’s face it, most of us Lone Stars view the Texas coast as a poor man’s Waikiki. Hell, maybe just a poor man’s Panama Beach — only to be used... By Callie Enlow 7/10/2013
The Different Types of Roommates You Might Encounter and How to Deal

The Different Types of Roommates You Might Encounter and How to Deal

College Guide 2013: If you’re going to be in a college dorm, a spacious apartment, a cramped shared bedroom or anywhere on a college campus for that matter, be prepared for your... By Mary Caithn Scott 8/20/2013
Sky High: Getting acquainted with Christopher Ware’s Paramour

Sky High: Getting acquainted with Christopher Ware’s Paramour

Food & Drink: Christopher Ware leads our group into a lofty conference space with mile-high ceilings, two giant wooden tables and possibly the comfiest... By Jessica Elizarraras 10/1/2014
Artist on Artist: Gary Sweeney interviews Catherine Lee

Artist on Artist: Gary Sweeney interviews Catherine Lee

Arts & Culture: If I ever found myself teaching an art class, I would pack up my students and drive them to Wimberley, where I would give them a tour of... By Gary Sweeney 10/1/2014
Bavarian Brauhaus Packs in the Brats

Bavarian Brauhaus Packs in the Brats

Food & Drink: Blame it on my love of accordions and early exposure to conjunto…but I’ve got a soft spot in my heart for German food. I was originally... By Jessica Elizarraras 10/1/2014
Calendar

Search hundreds of restaurants in our database.

Search hundreds of clubs in our database.

Follow us on Instagram @sacurrent

Print Email

News

Monk's Toolbox: A Local Start-Up Helps Craft Brewers Handle Their Biz

Photo: Isis Madrid, License: N/A

Isis Madrid

Zac Harris, Chief Monk and co-founder of Monk's Toolbox


During the height of Medieval barbarism, as Mayan civilization hit the skids, Scandinavian Vikings plundered rocky European coasts, and Arabian armies conquered Central Asia, a quiet movement brewed along the cool, mossy corners of Europe’s monasteries and abbeys. Back then, beer was the safest alternative to contaminated water, not to mention a welcome respite from the chaos of the world, and it was common for monasteries to provide it to local villages, for the sake of public health. It was a respected public service.

*****

“First and foremost, we are beer geeks,” explains Zac Harris, Chief Monk and Co-founder of Monk’s Toolbox, a San Antonio/Portland-based start-up creating useful web apps and software for craft brewers. Their flagship product, which launches its alpha phase later this month with 12 breweries nationwide (including San Antonio’s Branchline, Alamo, Ranger Creek, and The Granary), is meant to organize and streamline the day-to-day and big-picture logistics of running a brewery. In April, Monk’s Toolbox was awarded $25,000 by the Geekdom Fund.

Monk’s Toolbox’s SA headquarters is at Geekdom, where Harris pulls double duty as Director of Operations. Adam Pryor, Chief Operations Monk and fellow founder, works full time on the project’s financial and business needs from his Portland home. He’s in charge of seducing “strategic investors.” “I’m the full-time dude,” quips Pryor.

Jeremy Karney, the Tech Monk, is the steam in this engine, programming, coding, and bringing all of the team’s imaginings into reality.

Monk’s Toolbox was conceived during one of Geekdom’s 3 Day Startup events in the fall of 2012. Harris and Pryor showed up with the project in mind, and that weekend they fleshed out a business model and prototype, then pitched it to fellow geeks. If there’s anyone more serious about their passion than a tech geek, it’s a beer geek. These guys are both. Karney met Harris and Pryor that weekend. He was hooked.

*****

Prior to the appropriation of ale brewing by monks, the task belonged to Medieval housewives. It was an unrefined process, with pond scum and twigs often making it into the mix. The monks approached brewing in a much more scholarly fashion. Spoiled or soured ale, which had caused many a woman to be accused of witchcraft in days past, became all but folklore once monks took up cleaning and washing their equipment. Recipes were documented, pored over, and tweaked. Hops were introduced. Ingredients were tested for quality control purposes.

*****

“We asked ourselves: How do we create an easier platform for brewers to collect data?” says Harris.

The team hit the road to find out, visiting countless breweries as well as the recent Brewers Association convention in Washington D.C., to study what the logistical pain points are that brewers need help with.

The top tasks on the Monk’s Toolbox agenda? Recipe management, inventory management, brewing process management, automated tax filing (breweries are required to file both state and federal taxes monthly), and real time reporting of costs of goods sold.

Recently in News
We welcome user discussion on our site, under the following guidelines:

To comment you must first create a profile and sign-in with a verified DISQUS account or social network ID. Sign up here.

Comments in violation of the rules will be denied, and repeat violators will be banned. Please help police the community by flagging offensive comments for our moderators to review. By posting a comment, you agree to our full terms and conditions. Click here to read terms and conditions.
comments powered by Disqus