MicroBrewr 092: Email marketing for breweries

MicroBrewr 092: Email marketing for breweries

Alex Standiford in Akron, Ohio started Fill Your Taproom to help breweries attract more customers. He does that through website development, social media management, branding, and email marketing.

“It’s not about trying to get people to buy your stuff. It’s about building the relationship and then providing the information that empowers them to make a decision.” [Tweet This]

Email isn’t dead and it’s not just for online digital businesses; email is important for “brick-and-mortar” real world business, too. In fact, email is an ever more important part of your overall marketing plan.

Ninety percent of email gets delivered to an inbox whereas just 2 percent of your Facebook fans will see your post in their news feed.

“You don’t have to think about email as generating sales directly,” says Alex. “If you think of marketing as getting someone to know, like, and trust you, and then making sure you’re top of mind whenever [that person] goes into a grocery store, you’re doing fine. That’s really most of the goal.”

Your brewery can use email to:

  1. Build relationships and learn more about your customers.
  2. Educate your customers and empower them to make a decision.
  3. Fill your taproom by offering special deals or promoting events and beer releases.

RELATED: 51 things your brewery can do with email

“Especially if you already have a decent sized following online,” Alex advises, “it would be wise to start trying to migrate these people into your email list.”

Focus less on where you get people to sign up to your email list, and more on what you do to get people to sign up. Offer them a reason to give you their email address, which many people keep very private. “People don’t give away their email address for no reason anymore,” says Alex.

Alex advises you start growing your email list 8-12 months before opening your brewery. You can use the Facebook call-to-action button or a simple website that says “coming soon.” Then offer something that’s worth the exchange of their email.

A couple ideas are:

  • A PDF to teach customers about tasting beer
  • The promise of VIP access to events

Book recommendation:

Check out the entire list of recommended books, click here.

Your Free Audio Book

An upcoming beer style:

Gose and lighter beers

Other resources:

You can reach Alex Standiford and Fill Your Taproom at:


Beer Exam School, free study notes and flashcards for the Cicerone Certified Beer Server exam.

Support MicroBrewr

Help keep MicroBrewr on the air. CLICK HERE for ways you can help.

Subscribe on iTunes             Listen to Stitcher

My #1 tool for growing an email list: optinmonster

My #1 tool for growing an email list: OptinMonster

The last few posts were about email for breweries. Why your brewery needs an email list. What your brewery can do with an email list. And how to keep your email list healthy. Now I’m going to talk about the number one tool I’ve used to grow the MicroBrewr email list automatically. You can use this strategy for your brewery email list, too.

And there’s a discount code for OptinMonster to get 10% off too! So read all the way to the end, to find out how to get 10% off OptinMonster.

Alex Standiford make an excellent case for using email marketing to fill your taproom and ultimately, sell more beer. Still not sure how important an email list can be for your brewery’s marketing? I was on East Brother Beer Company’s email list long before they opened. When they finally made their debut, I was in their taproom within a week.

My #1 tool for growing an email list

The best tool I can recommend to collect email addresses on your website is OptinMonster.

You know those pesky pop-ups that ask if you want a special something, but you have to enter your name and email address? Well, they work wonders for growing your email list. Everybody hates them, but every webmaster knows they work.

It’s a simple thing. A visitor can click the X to opt out if she doesn’t want to bother with it. And if your offer is enticing, she will gladly sign up to your email list in exchange for your special offer.

Maybe you want to give a coupon to redeem at your taproom. Or invitations to special events. Or the homebrew recipe to your most popular beer. Create an outstanding offer, advertise it on your website, and watch your email list grow while you sleep.

“The first place to add your incentive is on your website,” says Alex Standiford. “Add a signup form in a prominent place in your website.”

That’s where OptinMonster comes in.

OptinMonster has several options. Pop-ups can be set to load on only certain pages, or can be set to load after a certain amount of time. Their “exit intent” revolutionized the game by displaying when a visitor was about to leave the site. Now their “welcome gate” claims to double the rate of new subscribers. That’s just a few.

And of course, mobile optimization is super important. Almost half of the MicroBrewr email subscribers come from mobile (currently 47%!), so pop-ups are designed to work for those visitors, too.

If you want to see how well OptinMonster is working, it’s super easy to see all the stats and what’s working best. Plus A/B split testing let’s you do multiple similar opt-in forms, let them run a while, then switch to the ones that work best or make adjustments accordingly.

If all this sounds a bit salesy, perhaps it’s because I’m pretty excited about OptinMonster. I’ve been using it on MicroBrewr since 2014. And the number of subscribers doubled right away. It doubled again after I improved the incentive offer. Obviously, I couldn’t be happier with OptinMonster.

If you want to grow your brewery’s email list from your website, you have to use pop-ups. I recommend OptinMonster, it’s simply the best I’ve found.

Discount code for OptinMonster – 10% off!

The folks at OptinMonster are not only cool, but super generous. They agreed to give us a 10% off coupon when purchasing OptinMonster.

Click on this link and check out OptinMonster.

And be sure to use this discount code for OptinMonster to get 10% off: WPB10

Now I have a question for you:

What special incentive will you offer through OptinMonster pop-ups, to grow your email list?

In the comments section below, tell me how you will use OptinMonster. What incentive will you offer to new subscribers? Type your idea below and share with us all the details so others can adapt the idea.

Image showing email_icon by Gregg O’Connell on flickr (CC BY 2.0) was modified from its original state.


Join the mail list

Don’t miss other great posts like this one.

Sign up for the email list:   Sign me up!

How to build a healthy email list for your craft brewery

How to build a healthy email list for your craft brewery

So now you understand that email must be an integral part of any craft beer marketing plan. And we’ve given you 51 ways to use email. Now in this last of 3 posts by Alex Standiford, you’ll develop a deeper understanding for the nuances of running a healthy email list for your brewery.

Alex Standiford is a web designer and a WordPress developer. He loves craft beer and wants to contribute to the community in a way that will make an impact. One way he does that is through his Brewio WordPress Theme for breweries and his Easy Beer Lister WordPress plugin, which can easily load your entire beer menu onto your website. The plugin is completely customizable to pick which beers are on tap today, and it can display your beer menu on a TV screen in your taproom. Both Brewio WordPress theme and the Easy Beer Lister WordPress plugin are free.

How to build a healthy email list for your craft brewery

My favorite strategy to keep a taproom full is with an effective email marketing strategy. This is a powerful tool that keeps people engaged in your brewery, and gives you plenty of opportunities to promote your business. Email campaigns are only as effective as the size and health of your email list, so in this article we’re going to talk about how to build a healthy email list for your craft brewery.

What you should not do with an email list

Although an email list can be purchased online, don’t do it. First off, it’s illegal in the US to mass-email an individual without their prior permission to do so. That’s called spam. If you do this, you will get blacklisted and will lose your digital “license to send marketing emails,” and that’s just not good.

Besides, it’s just not a cool thing to do. Nothing will turn off a customer faster than bugging them about your business offerings without their expressed interest in the first place. Annoying your customer is never a good way to promote your business, so avoid it.

Now that we’ve established what not to do, let’s talk about ways you can build your email list.

Offer a compelling incentive to join your email list

When faced with an opportunity to get added to your list, your customer will probably ask “What’s in it for me?” In other words, “Why should I sign up for your email list?”

To develop a large email list, give away something that you don’t give away to anyone else. These exclusive offers will make your customers want to subscribe to your email list. You could offer something special, such as a special membership or first dibs on invites to exclusive keg tapping of new batches. For a good example of this, check out Dogfish Head’s Mug Club offering.

Related: I have built a 20-point list of irresistible brewery offerings that will help you grow your list. You can get that here.

Start with your website

The first place to add your incentive is on your website. Add a signup form in a prominent place on your website, and show your compelling offer. Try to keep anything you write about the offer focused on what’s in it for the customer. Explain in clear terms exactly why it would be a good decision for them to sign up to your email list. If possible, place the form where it will be seen by as many of your website visitors as possible. Tell anyone who enjoys your beer about your great offer to join the email list.

RELATED: My #1 tool for growing an email list

Use your brewery

Create a print version of your online form, and place it in your taproom. Every day or so, add the new names to your email list. This straightforward strategy has 3 primary benefits.

First, since the opt-in form is at your physical location, it’s more likely that your list will be full of local people. The local customer is the most likely customer to visit again, so it’s important that you find ways to build a list of locals. By nature, a website is global, so it can be difficult to keep your list dedicated to the nearby customers.

The second advantage is that you can watch people interact with your offering, and get unique insight on what is or is not working. This will allow you to make adjustments to your offering, both online and in the taproom.

Third, this gives you the chance to not only capture traffic on your website, but also traffic that comes through your taproom. Not everyone will visit your website, or feel compelled to sign up for your email list until they’ve visited your taproom. This is where most people form their opinion of your brewery, so it’s a great place to ask them to stay in touch.

Leverage events

Events can be a huge opportunity to build your email list. I wrote about how to build an email list from beer festivals. Offer what you normally offer on your website opt-in form, but add an extra bonus incentive just for signing up at the event. People are in a hurry to move on to the next booth, so you need to make a compelling reason to stop them long enough to sign up. This bonus offering should cost little, or nothing at all. And be sure the added incentive is reason enough to stay subscribed to the email list. The problem with offering swag is that it does not give the person a reason to stay on the list, and you will end up spending a lot of money on a list of customers that may unsubscribe just after signing up. Make it a goal to obtain valuable email addresses, and your list will stay healthy, and will continue to grow.

Email frequently (but not too frequently)

Once you get a list of people signed up, deliver that special incentive you promised, and start sending some content. Once you have a person on your list, you must commit to sending messages to them with some frequency. If you don’t, they will forget who you are and why they signed up. Soon your email will be marked as spam, which possibly results in your domain getting blacklisted.

On the flip side, if you email them too frequently, people will get annoyed by the barrage of emails filling their inbox and will unsubscribe. And maybe mark you as spam! The key is to find the best frequency for your list. I typically recommend no more than 2 emails a week starting out, and no less than 2 a month. This is a fairly safe starting point for almost any business, including your amazing craft brewery.

Send more than event invites

I mentioned in another article that email is a transactional medium. Technically, you could send nothing but event invites to your list, but your list will probably see some unsubscribes, and lackluster growth.

Most people who sign up for your email list expect to be sold to, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t offer some value as well. For example, an email with a homebrew recipe of your most popular beer doesn’t directly bring people to your taproom. But it does build relationships, which in time, can lead to better interactions and strengthened relationships.

Marketing, at its core, is getting people to know, like, and trust you. Send emails to make all 3 of those things happen, and you’ll find better results in the long run.

Image showing Little Creatures Brewery Patio by Monica D. on flickr (CC BY 2.0) was modified from its original state.


Join the mail list

Don’t miss other great posts like this one.

Sign up for the email list:   Sign me up!

51 things your brewery can do with email

51 things your brewery can do with email

So now you understand that email must be an integral part of any beer marketing plan. But what can you do with email?

In case you’re still wondering, Alex Standiford and I brainstormed 51 different ways that you can use email for your brewery. Keep reading the entire list below, then check out the next post to learn how to build a healthy email list for your brewery.

Alex Standiford is a web designer and a WordPress developer. He loves craft beer and wants to contribute to the community in a way that will make an impact. One way he does that is through his Brewio WordPress Theme for breweries and his Easy Beer Lister WordPress plugin, which can easily load your entire beer menu onto your website. The plugin is completely customizable to pick which beers are on tap today, and it can display your beer menu on a TV screen in your taproom. Both Brewio WordPress theme and the Easy Beer Lister WordPress plugin are free.

51 things your brewery can do with email

The goal of marketing is to get someone to think of you first when they want a product. Email campaigns are a great way to achieve that.

The best email campaigns build relationships and educate your customers. Event promotion is important for your fill-your-taproom strategy, but unless you build a good relationship with your customers in the first place, nobody is going to care about the events that you email them about.

The best brewery email strategies focus on 1 of 3 different types of emails.

  1. An email that builds relationships with customers
  2. An email that educates customers about your story and your product
  3. An email that invites customers to visit you in person

If your emails focus on a healthy balance of all 3 of these types of emails, your list will stay healthy and your taproom will stay full! Here’s 51 different emails that you can send to your customers, organized by each of the 3 different email types listed above.

Related: If you’re looking for some information on how to build your email list, I have written a 20-Point Guide to Building Your Brewery Email List that is packed with information on how to do just that.

Use email to build relationships with your customers

Winning awards for your beer helps gain notoriety and reputation, but there are more impactful ways to sell more beer. Simply put, if your customers like you, they will choose your beer first. These emails are designed to do just that.

  1. Share food recipes for pairing with your beer. Especially your customer’s own recipes (with permission and a kind link to her Twitter or Untappd account).
  2. Share recipes of your beer scaled for homebrew.
  3. Offer a friendly homebrew competition on one of your beers with your shared recipes.
  4. Link to a special recent post on your social media.
  5. Share photos from a recent event.
  6. Share funny/crazy stories, and behind the scenes happenings at the brewery. Lagunitas Brewing is especially good at this, and their colorful stories on their labels has a profound impact on their branding.
  7. If you play music at your brewery, share your playlist with everyone via Spotify. Introduce the playlist with a primer about the feel you want the playlist to bring.
  8. Ask your customers to help you name your next upcoming brew.
  9. Give your creative customers a chance to create a label. Rich Weber from Sierra Blanca Brewing Company shared some great points about this on MicroBrewr Podcast 019.
  10. Use SurveyMonkey to send a free survey and gain valuable demographics and consumer insight.
  11. Ask what their favorite beer is.
  12. Ask what beer they want you to brew in the coming season.
  13. Ask for ideas about the taproom.
  14. Ask, ask, ask. Learn about your customers so you can provide a product they want and serve their desires. Who knows, maybe your customers want a nice quiet place to do some work and have a beer or two. You’ll never know until you ask.
  15. Well wishes for national holidays.
  16. Well wishes for beer days like National Beer Day and International Stout Day.
  17. Well wishes for other weird “holidays.” You can find a ton of these at com.
  18. April Fools Day is a great opportunity to send a faux beer release. Visit, and use it to help come up with a wacky beer name. (e.g., Farty Cinco de Mayo Yellow Extra Special Bitter)

Use email to educate your customers

These emails are great to teach customers about your beer. You will also be able to gauge how interested or knowledgeable they are in different aspects of beer, which will help you figure out what events you should host.

  1. Talk about common beer traits, and what pairs well (or not so well) with them. (e.g., If you’re sensitive to spice, avoid drinking an IPA with your buffalo wings.)
  2. Profile new releases, in emails to your customers.
  3. Profile a staff member.
  4. Explain common brewery terms, such as IBU, ABV, and OG.
  5. Tell the story of your name.
  6. Share why you started the brewery.
  7. Talk about your logo.
  8. Describe your brewing process.
  9. Talk about how temperature impacts beer flavor.
  10. Talk about different drinks that can be made with your beer. (e.g., a stout float)
  11. Talk about when it makes sense to choose a lower ABV.
  12. Talk about where you source your ingredients.
  13. Weekly hours of operation or changes to schedule.
  14. Explain the story behind what inspired you to create the beer you made. Dogfish Head’s Ancient Ales series is a great example of this.
  15. How to savor a beer.
  16. How to pair beer with food.
  17. How to identify “off flavors” in beer.
  18. How to age beer. Especially if you have a barrel-aged program or if you offer beers that would age well.
  19. Talk about glass shapes, and why they exist. This could be a great chance to sell branded glassware, if you have it!

RELATED: My #1 tool for growing an email list

Use email to fill your taproom

Be sure to look beyond a single email. A lot of the emails in this post could be used in combination for hosting an event at your brewery. For example, you could write something that talks about how temperature impacts beer flavor, and then host an event where people purchase a growler, and then drink it over the course of a few hours, noting the difference in flavor with each glass.

  1. Invitations to tastings. Offer VIP early entry for your email subscribers.
  2. Coupon for a free tasting flight for a friend when you buy one tasting flight or pint for yourself.
  3. Set an exclusive time to pick up pre-orders.
  4. Offer a free branded product, such as a glass or a T-shirt to customers who buy something, such as a tasting flight, or growler, on a specific date. Only notify your email subscribers about your freebie.
  5. Host creative events, such as jam sessions and open mic. If you’re reserving slots for the event, allow your email list to reserve well before everyone else.
  6. Host a league or competition for Cornhole or another fun game. Keep all members updated via email on the status of the league.
  7. Invite people to a themed event like Oktoberfest. Serve beer specific to the theme. Offer early access to email subscribers.
  8. Send a series of “beer school” emails, educating customers on the basics of beer, then invite them to a beer event hosted by the brewmaster, or a Certified Cicerone®.
  9. Host a cheese and beer pairing event. Have a certified cheese expert come in to talk about the different cheeses.
  10. Host guests such as beer writers, local chefs, or collaboration brewers.
  11. Host a listening party of your favorite new CD, or a viewing party of the season finale or your favorite TV series.
  12. Special events just for email subscribers.
  13. Announce food such as new menu items, menu changes, or food truck schedule.
  14. Announce upcoming releases with VIP, early tasting and Q&A with the brewer just for email subscribers.

Strategy is key. Think through the emails you send out. Don’t just haphazardly send invites to events, prime your customers with informative emails first. Think about your campaign from start to finish, and consider all of the information that could be sent before the event date.

Pay attention to and track interactions with your customers to learn about their needs, and figure out what interests them most. This will empower you to make informed decisions about what events to host, and when to host them. Soon you won’t have any difficulty keeping your taproom full.

Image showing found typewriter by Andy Smith on flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0) was modified from its orignal state.


Join the mail list

Don’t miss other great posts like this one.

Sign up for the email list:   Sign me up!

5 reasons every brewery needs an email list

5 reasons every brewery needs an email list

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: if your brewery doesn’t have a website, it doesn’t exist. You know you also have to be at least on Facebook and Twitter. Instagram and Untappd also work well for many breweries. But don’t neglect email marketing as a key part of your online strategy.

Email is important for many reasons and Alex Standiford will illuminate the entire email strategy in the next 3 posts.

Alex Standiford is a web designer and a WordPress developer. He loves craft beer and wants to contribute to the community in a way that will make an impact. One way he does that is through his Brewio WordPress Theme for breweries and his Easy Beer Lister WordPress plugin, which can easily load your entire beer menu onto your website. The plugin is completely customizable to pick which beers are on tap today, and it can display your beer menu on a TV screen in your taproom. Both Brewio WordPress theme and the Easy Beer Lister WordPress plugin are free.

5 reasons every brewery needs an email list

The inherent trouble with social media is that many breweries believe that it’s the only tool they need in-order to promote their business online. I hope to shred that belief apart in this article, and explain why you need to build your email list. Don’t get me wrong, social media has its place in online marketing, but not the best tool to actually convert people to visit your taproom. I have come up with 5 reasons why you need to put more time and effort into your email list.

After you read this article, if you want to learn more about how to build your email list check out my 20-point guide here. I promise that if you apply the information I show in this guide that it will help you get plenty of email subscribers.

Email gets more views

According to Forrester, 90% of your emails get delivered to the target inbox, but only 2% of your Facebook fans see your posts in their News Feed. In other words, if you sent a message to 1,000 people on your email list, and then sent that exact same message to 1,000 people on your Facebook feed, 900 of your email subscribers would see the email message, but only 20 people would see the Facebook post.

To me, this is the #1 reason to build an email list. Why should you put so much effort and focus on a Facebook page, when only 2% of the users actually see what you’re sharing? Much of that effort would be better spent on growing an email list, where 90% of the people who chose to follow you will receive your message.

Email is a known as a transactional medium

With email, people expect that you’re going to try to sell them something when you email them. In fact, 60% of people prefer to receive promotional content through email, compared to 20% who prefer social media. With more robust social platforms like Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram, there are many ways to connect with your business. If they choose to connect with you through an email subscription, they expect and want to be sold to.

According to MailChimp’s email marketing benchmarks, email campaigns across the board get a 22% open rate on-average, and 2.8% of those people click through to whatever it is you’re trying to send them. Not only is 22% higher than most social media platforms, those people are the ones who signed up for your list, expecting to be sold to.

When you promote an upcoming event via email, the people you’re reaching out to won’t mind. In fact, many of them are anticipating it, and will be glad to get that message. If your list is healthy, and you’re offering great products, you can expect to see some boost in taproom traffic from this strategy.

Email is a targeted medium

One of the most outstanding features of email is segmentation. When you send an email, your list’s actions will tell you things. If you’re listening, you can use this information to determine which subscribers get which emails. This is powerful, because it allows you to send 3-5 different emails to the people on your list who actually want those emails, without flooding your subscriber’s inbox in the process.

For example, let’s say that you have a recipe that pairs exceedingly well with one of your beers and you want to share that recipe with your email list. Chances are, not everyone on your list cares about food and beer pairing, and many of them probably don’t want to be bothered with this information. Instead of sending the recipe to everyone on your list, you can keep your list healthy and happy by only sending the recipe to the people that you know would like to get food pairing recipes from you. This ensures that your subscribers are getting a great experience from you because you’re only sending them what they want to see.

It takes less time (if you do it right)

My favorite thing about email marketing is the automation. Entire email campaigns can be automated if you plan them out ahead of time. This set it and forget it approach will save you time, and help you stay consistent with the execution of your strategy.

Another reason why email takes less time goes back to the expectations when someone signs up to an email list. Most people don’t want to receive an email every day, heck, I’d wager that most people want no more than 2 per week at most. To me, this means you get to cut the crap, and only send the best quality content, and offerings at your disposal. Sending an email to your list is a conscious, strategic move with a clear purpose, which makes it extremely efficient, unlike many other strategies out there.

RELATED: My #1 tool for growing an email list

It reaches your customers on mobile

According to Pew Research Center, 92% of online adults use email. And 53% of those messages are read on-mobile. Most smartphone users have at least one email address on their phone, and every smartphone comes with an email app out of the box. Many of those people receive a notification when they receive an email from that address. This means that many people who you send an email to will be notified about your email instantly, and many of them will look at it right away.


Email has many strengths that are unique to the platform. The numbers don’t lie—email offers consistency. It’s relatively easy to know what to expect when you send a message out, and that visibility can make your business grow in a predictable manner. It naturally works well with social media because email attracts customers from a different angle than most social media sites. This makes it the best companion for any online marketing strategy.

Image showing Studious by Bruce Guenter on flickr (CC BY 2.0) was modified from its orignal state.


Join the mail list

Don’t miss other great posts like this one.

Sign up for the email list:   Sign me up!