The new president of Bloomington-based Upland Brewing Co. says he wants to use technology and innovation to create a more streamlined operation. Eddie DeSalle, who had previously served as a strategic consultant for the brewery, was named to his new role in July. “Ultimately, [the goal] is to make everything more efficient,” said DeSalle, who founded and led agriculture tech company Net Irrigate before it was acquired in 2020.
In an interview with Inside INdiana Business, DeSalle said implementing tools such as predictive analytics will have the most immediate impact on the company.
“That will help us answer questions such as, ‘How much should we order, and when should we order it? Where should we open our next restaurant? What really affects the sales of a retail product,'” he said. “Models to answer questions such as these have been around for a long time, but they took a lot of manpower to implement them. Now, many of these models are being encapsulated in machine learning tools.”
Additionally, DeSalle says another goal is to get more real-time data from the company’s manufacturing operation using Internet of Things technology, which he says will allow employees to react and optimize operations more quickly.
He adds the implementation of technology will help the company respond to inflation.
“From a macro perspective, the best way to combat inflation is to be more productive. So, tools like the ones I’ve described ultimately will allow the operation, the company to be more productive and efficient, and that’s what we’re really trying to shoot for here.”
Part of the new effort will include adding a small number of jobs throughout the rest of the year. DeSalle says they will include tech-savvy workers who understand the technologies that will be implementing.
“Ideally, what I’m looking for is passion; if someone might be in an unrelated industry, but they’ve always had a passion for craft beer, hopefully this type of thing might seem appealing to them,” he said.
Upland Brewing has three breweries and six brewpub locations in Bloomington, Indianapolis, Carmel, Columbus and Jeffersonville.
“At Upland, we have always said creating a remarkable beer drinking experience is our top priority,” Upland co-owner Adam Estes said in written remarks. “Eddie has a real respect for this company’s roots, and will reaffirm our longstanding traditions while strategically utilizing tools that will push us forward and enhance our overall customer experience.”
Aside from the technology component, DeSalle hopes to continue Upland’s growth in the craft beer industry, which he says is contracting due to the growth of other products in the beverage industry such as ready-to-drink cocktails and hard seltzers.
“I think to grow [the company] in an environment where the whole pie is shrinking and there are some macroeconomic pressures to be more efficient, I believe there’s going to be some opportunity for [mergers and acquisitions] as far as growth goes.”