Audra Gaiziunas, owner of craft brewery management consulting firm Brewed for Her Ledger, is also a columnist and in-demand public speaker. Her consultancy work is centered on providing financial know-how and expertise to the brewing industry. She started her business in 2014 to address an important realization: “The most-established companies were large enough to afford hiring full-time accountants,” she says, “But no one was fighting for the little guy, that startup that is bootstrapping its way through financing its first 1,000 barrels of production.”
After earning an MBA from UNC’s Kenan-Flagler Business School, Gaiziunas landed in the corporate world. But she didn’t last long there. “I knew the corporate route was just not a fit for me,” she says with a laugh. “I wanted out as soon as possible.” She landed a job as controller for Dogfish Head because, in her words, she was “the ‘quirky’ one who would be a better fit for their culture.” Working alongside the brewers, she fell head over heels in love with the craft brewing industry. She went on to hold the position of CFO at Mother Earth Brewing before setting out on her own.
It’s readily evident that Gaiziunas is not your typical consulting accountant. She brings a scrappy, indie mindset to her work, which helps explain her deep rapport with small, independent brewing operations. Often helping to create business plans, she fills an important need. “A vast majority of the breweries in the United States are far too small to afford a senior financial officer,” she says. “It was clearly proven a deficiency within the industry.”
Even when brewers demonstrate strength in marketing, Gaiziunas says that their operational infrastructure is often lacking. “Why not bring global best practices to apply them to a hyperlocal market?” she says. “No one else was doing it.”