Whisky Advocate

What whisky inventory software are you using?

June 17th, 2010

Okay. Where were we before the “big announcement?” Let’s get the ball rolling again.

I received this email a few days ago from a WDJK reader and thought I would throw it out to all of you to comment on:

Dear John,

I was wondering if you or others in your community of drink pros or blog & magazine readers might be able to help me with something. There are lots of excellent software programs for managing wine collections, but I haven’t been able to find anything comparable for whisky or other distillates. There seem to be a few basic, homemade programs out there but nothing approaching the sophistication of commercial wine-cellar software. Are you aware of any programs that you’d be willing to recommend, or would you be willing to ask your friends or What Does John Know readers.

I’ll be honest. I started an Excel spreadsheet many years ago and still use it to this day. It just contains the basic information: name, age, vintage, ABV, quantity, if it is open or not, and a place for general comments.

My wine inventory (also on Excel) is actually more detailed, because it also contains purchase price, ratings (e.g. Wine Spectator), and recommended drinking time-frames.

How about you? Are you using any software to manage your whisky inventory that you really like and want to tell us about?

 

No Responses to “What whisky inventory software are you using?”

  1. Kevin says:

    I’ve also wondered this. I’m with you John – a fairly simple Excel spreadsheet – though I include purchase price, distillery, date and location purchased. I just need to get more commited to updating it…

  2. Andreas says:

    I use a Swedish site called Valv (http://www.valv.se) where I can keep track of items with a single click. I myself keep two categories for whisky, non-opened and opened. Not that advanced but I don’t need anything else.

  3. Tim P. says:

    I use Google Docs, and I have a spreadsheet with separate sheets for Opened, Closed, Empty and Traded. Traded also includes bottles I contribute to tastings or give to friends.

    On each sheet, I have the entries of Country, Region, Distillery, Bottler, Expression, Age, ABV, Cask#, Cask Type, Distilled Date, Bottled Date, Bottle Code, Importer, Outturn, Notes, Where Purchased and Price. For the Opened Bottles, I record the date opened and for empties, the date emptied. I don’t place a Qty since every bottle has it’s own line.

    Google Docs is great as you can edit it from anywhere with an Internet connection, and you can share your list publicly or privately with others. So far, this has worked good for me.

  4. MrTH says:

    Embarrassingly enough, I’m using MS Works, which was bundled with my first computer way back in the last century. I think it was already obsolete when I got it. My fields are Distillery, Age/Vintage, Description, ABV, Size, Bottler, Status (full/open/empty), Purchase Date, Shop, Price, Open Date, Finish Date. I occasionally wish I’d broken “Description” into two or three fields–it might include a name, cask type, bottling number, and any of a variety of other miscellaneous information.

  5. Paul M says:

    Just a simple Excel spreadsheet so I know what I have and how much I have spent separated by open and closed bottles.

  6. Gllaguno says:

    I use numbers for mac…

  7. JC Skinner says:

    Peatfreak’s notes for me.
    Designed with whiskey in mind, nice and simple, and even has a proper colour spectrum for accurate recording of a whiskey’s hue.
    I can see a reason for, say, a restaurant to need specialist software for managing their wine cellar. But I can’t think of anyone other than a retailer (who presumably is using stock control software anyway) who would need anything other than Peatfreak’s notes.
    Best of all, it’s free.

  8. AdamH says:

    As a Mac and iPhone user, I really like Bento. It’s very intuitive and all click-and-drag based, allowing you to design cool entry/view screens, and switch to a spreadsheet view/entry/sort whenever you need to.

    What’s best is that for $4.99, I can have everything on my iPhone too via the Bento app. It syncs with your computer.

    Realizing how much I love this setup, I put up some screencaps at: http://lawhiskeysociety.com/pages/bento-whisky-database along with some iPhone caps. I’m happy to share the template if anyone wants it. I’s great to be in a whisky shop, wonder “Hmm, don’t I have that bottle?” and be able to instantly check on on your iPhone.

  9. B Franklin says:

    Bento looks good. I’m a long time Filemaker Pro user, and have considered Bento for various needs. Have a rudimentary db in FMP for my single malt, but am sure it could be better. Would like to see your templates.

  10. DT says:

    AdamH,

    I would love to try out your Bento template. You should also submit it to http://solutions.filemaker.com/database-templates/index.jsp

    • AdamH says:

      I put a download link on the page listed in #8 above. Please let me know if you have any improvements, suggestions, etc. Cheers.

  11. smellmyskunk says:

    I use Excel. At this point I have about 75 unopened bottles in 8 different numbered boxes. I have a column in the spreadsheet with the box number that the bottle is in so that I can easily find the bottle that I want. I only keep track of the unopened bottles. The opened bottles stay in the kitchen until they are finished. I like Excel because it is a reliable program and I don’t have to worry about whether the information will be able to transfer to a new computer when I decide to upgrade. I also have a column in the spreadsheet for the Malt Advocate rating if there is a rating available.

  12. Coleman says:

    Cheers Adam,

    That template looks amazing! Can I get a copy>>?

    Fellow mac guy.. col3man (at) gmail.com

    Thanks-

    Coleman.

  13. P says:

    I have some software in the works. Hope to have it done by the end of the summer. I’ll keep you posted :)

  14. B.J. Reed says:

    I use Excel as well – Its pretty simple and straight forward and I can list specific notes about bottles when appropriate – Plus I can figure out how to use it :)

  15. Sascha says:

    I use a spreadsheet in Google docs which keeps track of the basics, and log bottles into connosr.com.
    I also find CellarTracker an excellent online database, with reviews, price indications, etc. Although focused on wine collections, almost every OB bottle I own can also be found on the CellarTracker database together with ratings and reviews. And it comes with an iPhone app called cor.kz!

  16. magnus says:

    I dont use it myself but peatfreak.com have/had a software that u can find here: http://www.peatfreak.com/PFNotes2.5.exe

    i use google docs myself since i easy can share it with my friends thats want to know :)

  17. Richard says:

    Personally, i don’t really use anythng for my collection. I’m a dedicated spreadsheet geek (I’m a finance manager in real life) but I try to turn over my holdings frequently enough that it’s not a problem. That said Matt (my fellow whiskey apostle) and I do have a Google docs spreadsheet of spirits for our website reviews and such.

  18. Bruce says:

    I use iMalts from the Apple app store. It does a decent job for scotch and a few whiskies, but no bourbon.

  19. Alex says:

    Good old Excel but a half decent app for iPhone is iMalts – distillery bottlings only, no indies – and you can log # bottles, opened or unopened, % remaining, has pics of the bottles.

    • B.J. Reed says:

      I can also load from Excel into my blackberry with “sheet to go” and it works great to travel with

  20. Derek Stewart says:

    I use Excel as well. Multiple tabs for Whisky, Tequila, and Rum, but the Whisky is the only one that sees regular use. I like the calculation functions as I enter information such as price, vol, ABV, my personal rating, and calculate a “value” score that reminds me of how variable quality and price can be (and how they don’t necessarily correlate directly). I also keep tabs for my tasting notes form and a Hit List for those whiskies I read you guys talking about but can’t easily find in my local stores. I do like the look at that Bento template. I might try it out on my wife’s Mac.

  21. Brian says:

    I just checked the Apple app store and iMalts is being given away FREE this weekend only. Worth a try at that price!

  22. Steffen Bräuner says:

    I always got behind updating my list so I stopped having one..I guess my turnover and sample swapping is just too much :)

    Nothing like finding a bottle in your cupboard you forgot you had :)

    (well its equally bad realising you look for a bottle you thought you had, then realise you drank it last year!)

    /Macdeffe

  23. two-bit cowboy says:

    I track three ways.

    First, for potential purchases, I use MS Works to keep a data base of pricing (wholesale & retail), ratings (M Jackson’s, J Hansell’s, Gavin Smith’s, Serge’s, & Raphy’s — I don’t have a rule about how good any of these guys’ ratings must be before I buy, but they offer great wisdom and wit that makes for a nice comparison), vendors, availability, and limited edition numbers. Yes, this is a huge, extensive data base.

    Next, I track purchases on a separate Works spreadsheet that includes all the above and more.

    Finally, I use MS Word (yes, that’s Word) with a set of table templates to track a photo; ABV; distillery location, history, and ownership; tasting notes; price; maturing wood(s); when to enjoy; and other tidbits I find interesting. Sound tedious, but for each new expression I simply copy and paste in a new page then plug in the details. I print these pages and slip them into document protectors loaded into a three-ring binder. Makes for a nice conversation piece while folks are tasting.

  24. David Stewart says:

    Just one big MS Word doc. Empty bottles are in blue text, everything else in black.

  25. Patrrick says:

    I personally use filemaker pro. With excel it is simply too easy to corrupt the file.

  26. Mike says:

    Just a simple excel spreadsheet.

  27. Red_Arremer says:

    My brain– I used to use a spread sheet which monitored all my bottles and the fill level on each one. I’d display it as a bar graph. But that was back in the day– these days I find that I can remember all the bottles I have and their fill levels off the top of my head– And it’s not like I have less… go figure.

  28. bgulien says:

    Take a look a http://www.whiskybase.com
    A database with over 16.000 whiskies and a lot of them with a picture of the bottle.
    Just register and you can make your own collection. There is also a way to put your collection as a signature in your favorite fora.

  29. maltakias says:

    Excel also here.The basics plus a personal rating out of 20 and my wife’s too (when possible) to get an average.

    I also take a picture of every single bottle that i have purchased,and of course of my beloved collection of miniatures,205 so far.

  30. Sjoerd de Haan says:

    It’s not really up to date, but I use the online app called WhiskyBase. It is made by a fellow clubmember here in the Netherlands. It also calculates notes on average of all users.

    The only thing that concerns me is that everyone else also knows how much you have at home, if they know your user name…

  31. Neil Fusillo says:

    I feel hopelessly low-tech in this one. I use a text file I edit on a unix webserver with vi.

  32. Sam S. says:

    http://smsw.info/
    Whisky Catalog

  33. Warry Pieket says:

    I use MS Access. It’s more “foolproof’ than Excel. I started with a simple excel-like listing but it has grown into quite a versatile program with various forms. One can now; find a whisky (or label), find a distillery (bottler/mothercompany), search geographically and even find a whisky on taste. If there is news I ‘connect’ it to either distillery or whisky. Same applies for movies (mov, mpeg or flv).

    As I’m no programmer, the database is far from perfect but it works well for me!

  34. Ralph says:

    I just would like to inform all of your MAC users that I did a Bento-Template called “My Whisky Collection” a couple of months ago. The template is designed to suits my needs. It’s quite similar to the Template AdamH did. Feel free to download it from the Filemaker/Bento-Homepage. Feel free to change the template as you like.

    http://solutions.filemaker.com/database-templates/de/detail.jsp?serial=2551721465

    Thank you.
    Ralph, Zurich Switzerland
    info@ralphbuehler.ch

  35. Gregory SA says:

    are there any alternatives to bento or filemaker that look similar or hav similar capacities? or a bento for windows???

  36. Tom says:

    I use the iMalt app for the iPhone. It is by far the best whisky app and it seems that the developer keeps improving it.

    http://www.imaltwhiskyapp.com

  37. William says:

    I use Cellartracker.com. Its primarily for wine but a lot of people has been using it for tracking their whisky collection also.

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