Spindrift Puts Smart Growth on Tap With NetSuite

Mike Stiles, NetSuite Contributor

March 9, 2023


  • Spindrift Beverage Co. sells sparkling water and spiked seltzers with authentic, responsibly sourced ingredients.
  • The business got as much mileage as it could from QuickBooks, Fishbowl, and other management tools until growth made ERP necessary.
  • Spindrift chose NetSuite over Sage, Microsoft, and SAP.
  • After previous interruptions in EDI and ecommerce data connections, Spindrift now enjoys seamless integrations.
  • Spindrift also now has a clearer picture of landed costs, cost of goods, and more.

About Spindrift Beverage Co.

In 2010, Bill Creelman noticed a discrepancy. He was introducing his family to real, whole foods like those he knew from growing up on a farm in western Massachusetts, but he couldn’t find a suitable carbonated beverage to pair with his meals. And he himself had a diet soda habit he was trying to break.

Creelman searched for carbonated drinks that were as authentic as the food his family enjoyed but came up short. He couldn’t understand why more brands didn’t use real fruit to flavor their water. Turns out it was because doing so is incredibly hard.

Creelman began the long process of experimenting with sparkling water. He had to figure out how to work with fruit that hadn’t been turned into concentrate. He had to build an entirely new supply chain. But once he got it right, consumers responded.

Early Spindrift adopters included artisanal delis and shops catering to health-conscious consumers. Today, Spindrift(opens in new tab) is available at top retailers like Trader Joe's, Costco, Target, Whole Foods, and Starbucks. Based in Boston with over 150 employees and revenues of over $200 million, Spindrift cracked into the top 10 brands in their category out of a competitive nationwide set of over 200 and are expanding their product line with their recently launched spiked seltzer. 

The Systems Bubble Bursts

At the outset, Spindrift ran fairly simple operations from just a few locations, enabling them to handle accounting in QuickBooks from infancy until crossing $150 million in revenue.

Spindrift supplemented QuickBooks with four additional tools: Fishbowl for inventory management, two ecommerce plugins, and an invoicing system. This allowed them to get more mileage out of QuickBooks, but they eventually started seeing system-to-system connection hurdles in electronic data interchange (EDI) and ecommerce data transfers, particularly once ecommerce traffic rose above a few hundred transactions a day.

The strategies that grew Spindrift to $150 million clearly weren’t going to get them to $200 million and beyond — which is one reason they replaced five core business tools with just one, NetSuite.

spindrift beverage co
Spindrift's sparkling waters and spiked seltzers generate over $200 million in annual revenue.

NetSuite Serves Refreshing Reliability

Spindrift’s search for an ERP system was deliberate and immensely thorough, including nearly 20 potential solutions. CFO Scott Chandler said the process made leadership confident that NetSuite ERP(opens in new tab) would best enable Spindrift to continue delivering its lofty growth ambitions.

Spindrift sought input from peer companies, investors, and staff with experience in ERP systems. They made a shortlist of vendors including NetSuite, Sage Intacct, SAP, and Microsoft.

“NetSuite had the inside track all the way because of its reputation and the robustness of the platform itself,” Chandler said, but leadership wanted to make absolutely sure that Spindrift could stay on their system of choice for the foreseeable future. Their questions included:

  • As Spindrift’s operations continue to increase internationally, how would NetSuite handle multi-currency transactions?
  • How would the ERP scale and adapt as the company handled more supply chain and production tasks internally?
  • Could NetSuite accommodate more business models and legal entities?

The team interviewed the shortlisted vendors in-depth, asking how their systems would handle about 25 potential scenarios that involved Spindrift expanding its business model. Meetings with the final three candidates covered specific capabilities, applications, and insights that would come with a go-live — all with an eye toward priming Spindrift to capitalize on any and every potential opportunity, said Chandler.

“We didn't want to pick a system that was going to tie our hands and force us to make decisions that would impede our ability to pursue whatever business opportunities we believe are in front of us.” 

More Data in the Can

After implementing NetSuite, Spindrift worked with NetSuite Advanced Customer Support to optimize their use of NetSuite with projects like EDI integrations and specialized reporting. Spindrift now uses NetSuite for functions including financial management, accounting, and procurement, taking advantage of the expert-led training that comes with NetSuite Learning Cloud Support(opens in new tab). Two specific areas have seen especially big impacts:

Inventory Management: By integrating their financial and inventory management systems, Spindrift achieved more data insight than ever before. QuickBooks and Fishbowl had worked together adequately, but they hadn’t covered every step of the supply chain. Blind spots were especially noticeable at handoff points like freight: As Spindrift moved raw materials through production, they moved partially completed product between manufacturing locations, repack centers, and warehouses. Their old business systems didn’t always recognize each freight movement as an expense as opposed to an additional cost of actual product.

Now, Spindrift has a full view of landed costs in NetSuite. Raw material consumption and every transportation step are visible, so the assembly of finished goods can be broken down into all its component parts. Even with production at five separate manufacturing locations, Spindrift can see the activity of each and enjoys superior control over operating costs with NetSuite Inventory Management(opens in new tab).

Spindrift uses NetSuite to track all of the materials needed to create its beverages. 

Analytics: When Spindrift went live on NetSuite, they focused on making NetSuite the data source for their third-party dashboards and reporting tools. Those integrations have delivered more granular insights, especially around operating costs and cost of goods.

But leadership is keenly aware that NetSuite SuiteAnalytics presents golden opportunities to get deeper analytics that will drive even more efficiency. Spindrift’s business model will get more complex, especially as their alcoholic beverage business grows. And the company will eventually need to drill down into performance of each product in a varied portfolio. That's where Chandler sees NetSuite SuiteAnalytics(opens in new tab) providing significant value.

“NetSuite’s biggest differentiator is that it has a wide range of tools and capabilities far beyond what we needed to implement on day one. That gives us confidence that NetSuite will continue to meet our needs as our business continues to evolve."

Smart Growth Is on Tap

As Spindrift leadership considers adopting best-in-class business tools, they’ve found that most are designed to work seamlessly with NetSuite. That’s why the business has been able to scale and refine operations so much with NetSuite in such a short time, said Chandler.

“As we look at the next two or three years, we already know which tools and enhancements we’re going to add that will position our business to continue delivering a high growth trajectory in a seamless way. That’s one of the key reasons we selected NetSuite.”

Strategically speaking, it’s tempting to pursue scale as the solve for every efficiency challenge, but the pandemic reminded everyone that delivering growth is as much about creating efficiencies across the business and continuously gaining a deeper understanding of various growth drivers.

“Spindrift is still experiencing rapid growth, so resource allocation has to be 10x better next year than it was last year,” said Chandler. “Spindrift will add headcount, launch new categories, open new markets, and add new manufacturing capabilities.”

Balancing such a wide assortment of opportunities in an increasingly challenging economic environment requires making sure investment dollars go to areas of the business where they’ll have the biggest impact — a mandate made easier for Spindrift with NetSuite.

If inventory management software is holding your business back(opens in new tab), then download this guide to find a best-in-class solution.

NetSuite has packaged the experience gained from tens of thousands of worldwide deployments over two decades into a set of leading practices that pave a clear path to success and are proven to deliver rapid business value. With NetSuite, you go live in a predictable timeframe — smart, stepped implementations begin with sales and span the entire customer lifecycle, so there's continuity from sales to services to support.

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