Beer Marketing

Mug Clubs–What Are They? And Why Should a Brewery Have One?

Mug Clubs are programs created to reward beer-loving enthusiasts and build a loyal customer fan-base. Typically, these promotions require an entry fee, which provides members with a custom beer mug, T-shirt and exclusive club benefits. Entrants receive special offers and discounts, private event invitations and new beer announcements, and rewards like logo glassware, growlers, and other freebies. Plus, members can expand their beer palette and support a local brewer. As the owner, the benefit to you is enhanced brand loyalty, free word of mouth and positive buzz about your business, and an engaged group of customers. That sounds like a win-win for everyone.

We know Mug Clubs are relatively easy to start and manage, and deliver a substantial payback in customer loyalty. But what makes them work best? Why should you create one of your own? Check out the tips below to learn more and get started.

Give rewards, get rewarded

You can’t run a successful Mug Club without knowing what you’re going to provide. Start with a custom mug (stoneware or glass is best) stamped or tagged with a number, which will help identify the member with their mug. You can even create laminated cards with a corresponding number printed on it to keep the members and mugs straight. Next, quantify what the membership entails – maybe it’s a 20-oz. beer for the price of a 16-oz. pour, or a standing discount on merchandise. Just make sure it’s enticing enough to justify the entry fee and encourage additional signups. Also, consider creating a display to showcase Mug Club mugs. This helps promote the group without spending any additional dollars on advertising, and serves as a great marketing tool.

Easier is better

No one likes complicated and that includes your customers. Try to make the registration process as seamless as possible. Start by researching entry fees of competitors in your region and then keep your prices comparable. Your customers will want to know what’s included with the membership, so state the total fees upfront and be ready to mention the highlights, like custom glassware, growler fill discounts, and any other benefits or rewards you want to feature. To start the enrollment process, collect their name and email address, which can be used for both Mug Club communications and as a boost to your customer database.

Get them in the door

Once you have an outline of your Mug Club benefits and finalized materials ready to go, the next step is promotion. Start simple and inexpensively by using internal staff to spread the word, creating a mug display at your location, posting to social media channels like Facebook and Instagram, and tapping into your customer contact list with email marketing. If you’ve designed a Mug Club worth talking about, you can easily build a customer base who will spread the word to friends and family. Once you have them in the door, make sure you generate promotions and offers that will keep them there.

The bottom line is that for brewpubs, Mug Clubs are an inexpensive and easy way to engage with your current customers and help attract new ones. Design your mugs, create the benefits, promote the offering and watch as casual patrons become loyal fans.

11/04/2019No comments
Breweries That Rock at Branding Their Beer

By covering everything from unique label art to special events or contests, small and independent brewers are kicking things up a notch. So, which brands are leading the pack? Check out the list below to see who has what it takes to be heard above the noise.

When it comes to marketing and branding in the world of craft brewing, it’s hard to overemphasize its importance. Take this stat from the Brewers Association, for example: From 2015 to 2016, the number of operating U.S. breweries grew 16.6 percent, and small and independent breweries accounted for 99 percent of the operating breweries in the U.S.

Essentially, that means a boom in business is creating more competition and forcing brewery owners to step up their game and find ways to stand out from the crowd. By covering everything from unique label art to special events or contests, small and independent brewers are kicking things up a notch. So, which brands are leading the pack? Check out the list below to see who has what it takes to be heard above the noise.

Ballast Point

Straight out of San Diego, California comes Ballast Point, a brewery perhaps best known for its IPAs and fishing-themed label art. It makes sense given their philosophy of doing what they love and making what they love to drink. And, since so many love fishing almost as much as brewing, their labels serve as a reminder to always do what makes you happy.

That’s genius in and of itself, but they didn’t stop there. A local San Diego artist named Paul Elder realized he and some of the Ballast Point founding members had a similar interest in fishing, and the former had an incredible artistic talent, too. His sketches became paintings, and paintings became labels. To this day, Paul Elder creates all of the fish illustrations and nautical scenes that have come to be synonymous with the Ballast Point brand. Combining local talent with a local brewery? That’s a match made in beer label heaven.

The Land-Grant Brewing Company

Next up is Ohio’s Land-Grant Brewing Company, an incredibly popular brewery born from the minds of four like-minded friends and one basset hound. This crew does it all – sustainability efforts, community service initiatives, Euchre leagues, rotating selection of food by local food trucks and more. Their can art is cool, too. Even better, Land-Grant does an exceptional job at staying true to their roots while opening themselves up to new opportunities.

By offering four core beers (always available in the taproom), they have the flexibility to try new things without losing their most ardent fans. They’ve launched seasonal releases, limited releases, Space-Grant, Sea-Grant, Sun-Grant, Supporter Series, and Collaboration Beers, all of which enable them to declare who they are and what they stand for without sacrificing growth and opportunity. Can’t ask for much more than that.


We’re heading back out west now to feature Uinta Brewing, a quirky and adventurous establishment founded in 1993 in Utah. Visit their website and you’ll see the adventure theme everywhere you look – it’s part of everything they do. And, as any marketer worth his weight will tell you, knowing who you are and what you believe is step one to achieving any level of success in the business world. Luckily for Uinta Brewing, it seems they can go ahead and cross that off the list.
Not too long ago, Uinta underwent a major makeover, keeping its “Earth, wind, and beer” tagline while removing most everything else. Their logo, compass bottle and packaging all saw major changes, but the outcome was a defined beer brand that hits the mark. From the website design and photography to typography and visual identity, this group took a long hard look at themselves and fully declared who they are. They make you want to step out and try something new, if only for the sake of the adventure. That’s something we can raise a glass to.

Pipeworks Brewing

There’s a lot to love about Pipeworks Brewing. Since opening in 2012, this Chicago based craft brewery has seen tremendous growth. That’s thanks in most part to quality brewing, a varied offering, and team of passionate individuals. You get the vibe of the brand immediately after visiting their homepage. Instead of using typical top page navigation like, “Our Beers” or “Staff,” Pipeworks infuses some personality and unique copy and voice attributes with the labels, “Beerz” and “Squad.” It’s a simple content decision that sets the tone for the site and brand.

They’ve also received significant attention and admiration for their can art. Oftentimes, they’ll use artist Jeff Kuhnie to put his magic to the labels, and his work speaks for itself. Even when the art isn’t his, they make sure to credit the illustrator on each label. Again, that’s an easy add to a label and something that highlights their passion and commitment for quality craftsmanship. It builds brand loyalty and creates a positive buzz around the brand, and costs them little in time or management.

Tröegs Brewing Company

We’re rounding out the list of top brewery brands with Hershey, Pennsylvania Tröegs Brewing Company. Founded by brothers Chris and John Trogner, this brewery has a little bit of everything. Like Land-Grant, Tröegs doesn’t stop at brewing quality beers. They host trivia nights, participate in non-profit events, attend festivals, schedule release parties and more. By taking some time to look past the walls of their taproom, they’re able to extend their reach and connect with new and current customers alike. They also have an innovative annual event that helped put them on the map.

The Art of Tröegs contest encourages artists (both local and out-of-town) to “take a piece of Tröegs” – like a label, bottle cap, etc. – and use it to create a piece of art. They don’t put a parameter on art type, either, so paintings, sculptures, collages and more all count. They display the winning work in their Art of Tröegs gallery at their Hershey, PA brewery, host an opening party to help celebrate, and award the winning artist with $500 in cash. You don’t even have to use your winnings to buy Tröegs’ beer, though they would surely accept it. This creative thinking has helped them to draw attention from people who might not otherwise drink their beer, thereby extending their influence and generating more potential customers. Well done, Tröegs!

Like we said at the beginning, it’s impossible to place too much emphasis on your brewery’s brand. Very little is as important as your image and perception to customers. The good news is that you have the freedom to try as many tactics as you’d like. Once you’ve clearly defined who you are through design, copy and a logo, your vision, and creativity can take you anywhere you want to go. The brewing industry has proven time and time again that small can be mighty and ingenuity the difference maker. Put your ideas to the test, learn from your mistakes, and dream big – your brewery has the potential to be best in class. It’s just waiting for you to get it there.

09/27/2019No comments
Sell Your Beers With These Beer Photography Tips

Enjoying a delicious brew is more than just taste and smell. How your beer looks matters, too. This is especially true when you’re showing off your product online, where a person can’t taste or smell it. These beer photography tips will help you take better photos of your beer. Use these tips when publishing photos on social media, and your beer will look great.

06/08/2019No comments
How to Increase Your Brewery Check-ins and Likes

If you’re reading this post, you’re likely already on the right track. To build engagement and interaction on your brewery’s social posts, you have to first have a social media presence. Seems obvious, right? More important than having multiple social profiles is knowing how to leverage each one to its fullest potential. There are a multitude of platforms out there for you to consider, but we’ll focus this article on making the most out of Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Untappd, and BeerMaps. If you don’t have business profiles on those four channels, yet, that’s a great place to start. All offer benefits to you as the brewery owner, and all are incredibly user-friendly.

But once you have a presence on these social media platforms, how can you ensure your followers and fans engage with you? We’ll walk you through some tips and actionable steps you can take to increase your brewery check-ins and likes, and keep your followers coming back for more….

04/28/2019No comments