Online Marketing For Breweries – The Essential Guide

This online marketing guide for breweries will give you what you need to maximize engagement, create and implement an effective social media marketing strategy, and save you valuable time in the process.

Social media is one of the most widely adopted and effective channels to connect breweries with their audience. Think about your own digital footprint. You likely use your smartphone or computer to check daily news, scroll through your social feed, read online reviews, search for business information and more.

Your customers are doing the same, and it’s critical for you as a brewery owner to understand how to leverage those daily interactions to build your brand and engage with your customers.

This guide will give you what you need to maximize engagement, create and implement an effective social media marketing strategy, and save you valuable time in the process.


Get Content with Content

Let’s start with the big kahuna. No social media or content marketing strategy is complete without thoughtful and effective content. You can’t create emails, social media posts, or website pages without producing great content. If your writing skills are subpar or you don’t have time to make it a focus, your first step should be to invest in a professional writer. There are many affordable, talented freelancers out there who can turn ideas into reality. These writers will help you  create compelling copy, write great blog posts, and even help you write your ad campaigns. Trust us, it’s worth the cost.

Why Breweries Should Write Blog Content

You might be wondering what content can do for you, and why there is such an emphasis placed on creating it. For one thing, you can make a single post go a long way. Let’s say you write and post a fun and informative blog about your beer to your site. Maybe you’ve talked about the history of your brewery and how this particular ale came to be.

Once it’s on your website, you can share link to it from your social channels or include it in your next email campaign. By doing so, you’ll reach new and returning visitors on your site, social media followers, email subscribers and more. This single blog post can do wonders for your brand. Plus, if you’re extra savvy, you can collect the behaviors of your visitors (information like which pages they visited, length of time they viewed the site, etc.) and use that data to promote your brand directly to them via advertisements on Facebook or Google. Now imagine the visibility you could have with a weekly blog post. Seems pretty important to your business, right?

Content like this doesn’t need to promote your events and your brewery, that’s what the rest of your website should do. Instead,  your blog will strengthen your brand and give you solid content to share online – and that does promote your brewery.

Here’s an example of how this works in daily life: I frequent the local grocery store and typically buy the same exact beer every time. I rarely take the risk of spending $10 and an evening on a beer that I don’t know anything about. If I have heard of your brewery, the odds of me picking up that beer is increased, and if I hear about your brewery CONSTANTLY, the odds of me picking up a beer increases even more. My brain, in memory of a brand, can’t tell the difference between people chattering about a brand and ads promoting a brand. Either way, it puts that brewery at top-of mind.

Content like this doesn’t need to promote your events and your brewery, that’s what the rest of your website should do. Instead,  your blog will strengthen your brand and give you solid content to share online – and that does promote your brewery.


Some Things You Can Write About

A basic content example you could try relates to your newest beer release. If you know you have a beer to unveil in the coming weeks or months, plan ahead and be prepared to talk about it.  Write detailed information on ingredients or inspiration for the flavor. Talk about why you made this beer, and talk about the perfect scenario to experience it. Invest in a DSLR camera, or consider hiring a photographer to take photos of your newest brew, and use these high-quality images in your post.

You spend a lot of time and effort crafting the perfect beer, so it makes sense that you would take time to show it off. This is an effective way to introduce a new beer and build excitement for the release. Again, that content can be posted to your website, followed by social media channels, emails, and targeted ads. If you do post imagery to multiple platforms, consider featuring different angles or filters per channel. That way, if people are following your brewery on Facebook and Instagram (and also visit your website), they won’t be served the same content multiple times.

One final content suggestion you can try is to tap into your local community. A lot of brewery owners know to promote their events or product, but fewer think of the audience right outside the front door. You probably chose your location for a specific reason – maybe you grew up down the street, loved the vibe of the neighborhood, or watched similar businesses flourish in the area. Whatever your reason, you decided to become part of the community. So why not invest in it?

By getting involved with the local scene and publishing articles that relate to new or interesting things nearby, you can build your local authority, speak to the culture of the neighborhood, and highlight how your brewery is part of it. When you invest in your community and share your experiences with others, you help them feel connected to you and the places they frequent. You want everyone to feel like their town is a better place because you exist, and that’s the truth, isn’t it? Spread the word and let them know. You’ll be better for it.

You’ve Got (E)Mail

Many brewery owners focus on websites and social media, yet they neglect email marketing as a part of their marketing strategy.  The inherent challenge with social media is that most breweries employ it as their only touchpoint for online business promotion. While social media is a key component of a strong digital strategy, it’s most effective when combined with other tactics.

Let’s take a look at a few reasons why you should use email marketing to grow your business.

1.) Email gets more views

Research doesn’t lie and the numbers from a recent Forrester study are pretty compelling. Essentially, studies show that email messages are received by more people than the same message posted on Facebook. Think about it like this: If you send a message to 1,000 people on your email list, and then send the exact same content 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.

It doesn’t get much more compelling than that. If only 2% of Facebook users will see what you share, it’s not really worth the effort to put so much focus on the platform. Instead, use that time to grow an email list that 90% of subscribers will receive.

2.) Email is a known as a transactional medium

With email, people expect that you’re going to try to sell them something. In fact, the majority of people prefer to receive promotional content through email over any other digital channel. That’s worth mentioning again. More than half of all users prefer to receive promotional content via email. That’s huge. If someone has chosen to connect with you through an email subscription, they expect you to sell to them, and more often than not, prefer it over social media.

When you have an upcoming event or promotion and are determining which channel to use, remember that your target audience is anticipating the promotional interaction via email. So, give the people what they want! If your email database is healthy and you’re offering great products, you can expect to see some boost in taproom traffic using this strategy.

3.) It takes less time (if you do it right)

Automation is the name of the game with email marketing. Entire email campaigns can be automated if you plan them out ahead of time, which saves you time and helps you stay consistent with the execution of your strategy.

The average person expects to get 1-2 emails per week, and that’s on the high end. Rarely do they anticipate receiving daily emails when joining a mailing list, which works out well for you (and them). By limiting the number of weekly interactions, you’re able to deliver the most effective and highest quality content. That’s something you can both appreciate.

We could go on and on about the benefits of email marketing, but it’s pretty clear by now that email is a great tactic for you to use in your strategy. But how do you build your email list and grow your database? We have a few tips and tricks to get you started.

Your subscribers should be seen as your VIP’s and should, at times, get exclusive offers that you don’t offer anywhere else. That will keep them on the list, engaged, and coming back for more. Think of your email database like a club (call it a speakeasy, if you want!). It should feel exclusive, and make subscribers feel important and proud to be part of it.


Attract People to Your Brewery Email List

To begin, you’ll need a compelling incentive to entice customers to join your email list. They’ll likely want to know why they should sign up and what benefit awaits them if they do. So give it to them! Think of an offer or special that would be exclusive to email subscribers – something they couldn’t get if they visited your brewery or interacted with you on social media. You could try a special membership opportunity or exclusive invitations to tasting events or beer releases. It doesn’t have to be grandiose, but it does have to be unique and enticing.

Once you’ve created your special offer, make sure you add the incentive to your website. Include a signup form with details in a prominent spot on the web page. Clearly explain the offer to them and elaborate on why they should take advantage of it.

You can also spread the word to guests who visit your brewery location, too. Simply create a print version of the online form and keep copies in your taproom. You can add the new names to your digital list every couple of days or so. Not everyone will visit your website or feel compelled to opt in to your email list until they’ve visited your taproom, so this gives you an opportunity to engage with them.

Whether you collect subscribers online or in-person, make sure there’s no confusion about what they’re signing up for and what you’ll provide when they do. Once you’ve built a solid list, consider revising or updating your offer to entice more people to sign up, and pay attention to which offers are most effective and which could use some tweaking.

Another great way to grow your list is through events, like optimizing your exposure at beer festivals. Offer what you normally extend 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 give them a compelling reason to stop and sign up. This bonus offering should cost little, or nothing at all. Just make sure the added incentive is reason enough to stay subscribed to the email list. Swag is fun and looks good, but it doesn’t give people a reason to stay on your list, and you could end up spending a lot of money to generate a list of customers that may unsubscribe relatively quickly. Make it a goal to obtain valuable email addresses, and your list will stay healthy and continue to grow.

One final note: Create occasional private emails that only go to your email list. Your subscribers should be seen as your VIP’s and should, at times, get exclusive offers that you don’t offer anywhere else. That will keep them on the list, engaged, and coming back for more. Think of your email database like a club (call it a speakeasy, if you want!). It should feel exclusive, and make subscribers feel important and proud to be part of it. To help you more, we worked with our friends at Microbrewer to publish a series of 50 things you can email to your brewery list.

The point is, 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. Additionally, 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, and one you should absolutely incorporate into your plan.

Generate A Following

Facebook. It’s the eight-letter word that all content marketers know as the key to growth and engagement. Unlike other social media sites, Facebook has a few capabilities that are difficult to find elsewhere, and at a price that won’t break the bank. It’s important to identify how your brewery can use the tools that Facebook offers to grow your business and fill your taproom. By employing one or all of them effectively, your brewery could see substantial growth. Here’s what you can try.

Schedule Content

First things first, create a strategy for content and then schedule your posts. That goes for every social platform, but especially Facebook. Once you create a schedule and plan your content in advance, you’ll have posts for the next few weeks. When current or trending topics emerge, you’ll have the time to add them to your pages as they pop up. It will take some time on the front end, but will be well worth your while in the long run.

For our clients, we publish content at least two weeks in advance and schedule content once a week. This “sweet spot” provides a buffer, but prevents the content we’re going to post from being too outdated when it gets published. Once you get your two-week buffer up, scheduling content on Facebook becomes a weekly task, instead of a daily concern.

When you schedule content, you’ll be able to determine how frequently you want to post from the beginning, and once you’ve detailed your plan, won’t have to waste any additional time thinking about it. There are numerous social media scheduling tools available to you, which makes it easier than ever to post consistently, and leads to active and engaging profiles.

Another benefit of scheduling on Facebook is the ability to easily repurpose content. When you start scheduling your posts, you should also be able to see your engagement metrics – things like reach, likes, comments, shares, and more. The data you collect from those metrics will help you determine which content outperformed others and which saw the most activity from your followers. Let’s say you post a photo showing a beer flight and your audience seems to react well to it. You can use that information to help guide your decisions for future photos to share on your page.

For our clients, we publish content at least two weeks in advance and schedule content once a week. This “sweet spot” provides a buffer, but prevents the content we’re going to post from being too outdated when it gets published.


Test to See What Works

Now that you have a few tools to try, let’s address what types of content you should share through Facebook. To begin, test content posts using every post type you have at your disposal (e.g., images, video, polls, blogs, etc.) and then mix them up to see which is working well and which could use some help.

You should also pay attention to the time of day you post. Some brands see an increase in engagement with posts sent on Monday afternoon at 3:00 or 4:00pm. Others have success on Thursday morning at 10:00am. You won’t know when your followers like to engage with you until you start scheduling content and tracking your results. Then, you can take that data and reevaluate your content strategy to see what is most effective for you.

Unfortunately, generating new, engaging content can be a real time suck. To help with this challenge, we’ve compiled a checklist of thought starters and inspiration to help you create content on social media, and spend less time doing it.

We mentioned using high-quality images before, and that’s an essential aspect of successful Facebook campaigns that you won’t want to overlook. We’ve written about the importance of good beer photography in the past, but can’t reiterate enough how crucial it is to have a cache of great photos at your disposal. You make a good looking product, so there’s no reason not to showcase it in its finest form. Hire a photographer if you have to, but please don’t underestimate the value of imagery. It can go a lot farther than you think.

There are a few other tactics on Facebook worth investigating, like Facebook Reminders that enable you to keep up with special or important dates. The feature notifies you about upcoming holidays and allows you to create your own reminders by date and time, which is really handy when you aren’t able to plan or schedule content in advance.

Another is the Facebook Event Aggregator that can be used to update information across multiple sites as quickly as possible. With it, you can easily pull event listing data from your Facebook Events directly into your website’s WordPress calendar, providing more visibility to your followers and site visitors. Suffice it to say, Facebook knows how to help you leverage content, and there are many more tools to consider as part of your marketing strategy. Make sure you check them out.

Facebook truly is the king of all social channels, but that doesn’t mean platforms like Twitter, Instagram and Untappd shouldn’t be used, too. On the contrary, you should consider as many of these social platforms as you can.

If you don’t have time to manage an Instagram account well, but can make time to cheers a couple of check-ins on Untappd, then skip Instagram and go for Untappd. If you love Twitter but don’t like Instagram, then tweet instead. Just remember that when it comes to social content, it’s quality over quantity. Use as many channels as you can without trying to be everything, everywhere.

Facebook Ads

Another content type to utilize is boosted or promoted posts. Boosted posts are a great way to get your feet wet with Facebook advertising because of its simplicity. You can budget $5 per post or higher (targeted to a specific audience or geography) to reach more of your followers than you would with an organic post. Remember, on average, your Facebook followers see 6% of your content in their news feed. By boosting or promoting a post, you’re able to increase your reach and visibility, and ensure more of your target audience is able to interact with your page. You can also try A/B testing your boosted posts to see what sort of content your followers respond to best. Keep in mind, boosted posts work well when time is tight and you haven’t created a more sophisticated campaign. When compared to more robust Facebook ads, boosts aren’t as effective. It’s just something to remember when strategizing your advertising efforts.

Facebook ads work a bit differently than boosted posts. To create a successful Facebook campaign, you’ll need to determine your objective for the campaign (sales, website visits, increased engagement), an understanding of your target demographic, a daily or lifetime budget for the ad, and photos or videos to feature in the ad. From there, the Facebook Ads Manager can walk you through the process and help you create a series of ads that reach more people and achieves your set objective. Once it’s approved, you’ll be able to track performance and metrics, edit the ad, compare campaigns against one another and more.

How Much Should I Spend?

To start, we recommend that you spend $10/day per Facebook campaign. That’s around $300/month per campaign. Generally, we push for three different campaign types for breweries: One focused on brand awareness (blog posts, website traffic); one promoting an upcoming event; and one focused on growing your email list. That totals out to somewhere in the neighborhood of $900-1000/month.

We usually break down ads for our clients into three separate placements on a 60/30/10 ratio. 60% of the total Facebook budget for a campaign goes to cold leads, 30% goes to warm leads, and 10% goes to hot leads. This multi-step strategy allows you to build a mini funnel, which will bring more people to your events, increase beer sales, and improve brand awareness.

“Cold leads” – 60%

These are the people who you think will be interested in your brewery. Usually, this comes directly from Facebook’s current set of data. Use Facebook’s targeting to attract people who love craft beer within a specific radius of your current location. The ad should focus on driving people to your site. Think of this as a first step in the process, where you are trying to qualify the people you’re advertising to. They qualify themselves by taking an action, such as liking your page, liking the ad, or clicking through the ad.

“Warm leads” – 40%

These are the people who have been qualified in some way. Either they visited your site, clicked on an ad, or liked your Facebook page. In this case, you know that they’ve heard of your brand, and they qualified themselves as interested with their actions. Send these people directly to your conversion pages (event signup pages, email list pages, etc.) based on what kind of content they were reading.

“Hot leads” – 10%

These people have visited your conversion pages, and get a retargeted ad at $1/day. These people are also targeted via a Facebook ad pixel, but the key here is what page(s) they visited. These people get ads that focus on conversions, such as a sign-up for the upcoming event, event reminders, mailing list subscriptions, Mug club subscriptions, swag sales, and more.

The Power of Web

By now, you understand the importance of social media marketing. Start with solid content, pursue email campaigns, and utilize social media to fully leverage your brand. That is the recipe to a successful digital strategy, but don’t forget the key ingredient – your website.

A searchable website will lend credibility to your business and build trust with customers. Think, for instance, about a potential customer searching for local breweries near them. If they find a Facebook page for your brewery, but a website and social channels for a competitor, they’re more likely to perceive that business as more trustworthy and credible than yours.

A website takes more time, planning, and execution to be successful, whereas a Facebook account takes a name and email address. When you have both, you’re showing customers that your brewery is a serious business. Similarly, if you’re not staying competitive with your competition, you’re giving potential customers a reason to look elsewhere.

Remember, while social media and email can be effective marketing tools, they aren’t the end all be all when it comes to engaging with your customers. Not all of your customers want to connect via social media. Sometimes, a customer just wants to know what’s on tap, when you’re open, and where you’re located.  Don’t miss your chance to connect with them through a dedicated website for your brewery that is designed to streamline that information for them.

It’s not just customers, either. Distributors, media specialists, and other locations that house your beer will lean on your website to learn more about your brew. Sometimes they’ll want this information to help sell your product, and sometimes they’ll want to learn more about your company. It’s important that you provide an easy way to access this up-to-date information to the general public.

Another unique feature of your website is the Facebook ad pixel. This little snippet of code will send tracking data back to Facebook, allowing you to use that data to retarget visitors with Facebook ads. Imagine this scenario:

Let’s say that a visitor goes to your site, and clicks on your events page. They click through onto your upcoming 4th of July Luau event, and then leave the site. With the Facebook tracking pixel, you can now send ads to that person about the event, and friendly reminders as it gets closer to the day of the event. This is a powerful feature that you simply cannot get anywhere but your own website.

Many people think websites are prohibitively expensive, and that’s simply not true. Sure, Facebook is free (all you need is a name and email address), but you have many options available to you when it comes to website building and hosting. Costs can vary, but you can get a good-looking website up and running with WordPress using a few key plugins and WordPress themes. Remember, though, as with most things in life, you get what you pay for. While these options offer a website solution on the cheap, they don’t account for the time it takes to update page content and manage your website, let alone the time it takes to build the site.

For those services, consider pursuing the talents of a well-trained web developer who can help you balance the professionalism of your own web page with the time it takes to run it efficiently. You’ll be glad you did.

It’s not just customers, either. Distributors, media specialists, and other locations that house your beer will lean on your website to learn more about your brew. Sometimes they’ll want this information to help sell your product, and sometimes they’ll want to learn more about your company. It’s important that you provide an easy way to access this up-to-date information to the general public.


As you know, breweries rely on a strong brand to succeed, and a website strengthens it. When you manage the content and messaging, you’re able to set the voice, tone and character of your brewery and help consumers learn more about what sets you apart from everyone else. Use it to tell your story. Who are you and why did you get started? What makes you unique? Why are your brews worthy of a visit? Your website is your space to show off and boast a little. There’s a reason why your brewery began – just take some time to tell people about it.

Overall, when you create your own website, you give yourself a “storefront” that’s accessible all day, every day. Your content is readily available, and searchable, whenever consumers are trying to find it. As mentioned before, you certainly want to employ social media platforms in your strategy, and Facebook is the best one to use; it’s just that nothing beats a designated website. Consider a trial and watch what it can do for you.

From content creation to email marketing and social media platforms to websites, we’ve covered it all in this guide. If you feel overwhelmed, don’t be. The main takeaway here is that you have multiple tactics available to you to create a successful content marketing strategy. Better yet, you have us as a resource, too. Feel free to send us an email, schedule a meeting, or chat with us through the site. We’re available to answer any questions you might have or provide additional details or sources for you to consider. Remember, start with solid, well-written content. We’ll help you take it from there.