Email marketing for aspiring beer snobs

by Josh Mendelsohn in February 14th, 2020

Originally posted as a podcast here

I love beer. I mean really love it. IPAs, double IPAs, wheat beers, lagers. The stronger the better.  

And yet I know way less than you’d imagine about the actual differences between the different styles and the details of how they are made.  Which is painfully clear whenever I get into a conversation with a fellow beer connoisseur because I do a lot of faking and nodding and smiling.

That’s why I love the approach that Allagash brewing has been taking with their email marketing over the past few months. 

If you don’t know Allagash, they are a mid-size brewery just outside of Portland, Maine that is best known for its flagship beer -  Allagash white. 

The official description is that Allagash White is a Belgian-style wheat beer is brewed with oats, malted wheat, and unmalted raw wheat for a hazy, “white” appearance. Spiced with Allagash’s own special blend of coriander and Curaçao orange peel, Allagash White is both complex and refreshing.

But what I really know about is that it tastes good, is not super strong and goes down nicely on a hot day or after winter exercises like skiing or playing hockey.

Last summer I took a tour at the brewery just outside of Portland, Maine. It’s a good experience with multiple drinking stops and a ton of great insight. None of which I remembered despite the fact that I love drinking and talking about beer.

Which is why I LOVE their email marketing. 

Each subject line opens with a question about beer. The content of the email gives me a clear answer to the question that is not full of insider lingo. And finally, each email ends with an easy way to find or buy the associated Allagash brew. 

Here are a few that I love. For example:

What is a "Session Beer?"

Session beer isn’t really a style of beer. “Session” is actually an adjective used to describe a beer that is: lower in alcohol (generally under 4 or 5% ABV) and high in refreshment.

Makes perfect sense, right?

Does Beer Expire?

Does beer expire? Short answer, no. Beer isn’t like milk. With age, it doesn’t actually "go bad" or become unsafe to drink. Old beer’s taste, however, will absolutely change. But stored properly, an old beer’s effect on your body won’t be different than a freshly packaged beer.

Good to know!

And as an IPA lover, this was especially useful. 

What makes beer bitter?

Bitterness. It’s either one element of many in a well-rounded beer or the one thing that keeps you away. Where does it come from? Why is it even in beer? And is every craft beer bitter, for that matter?

As you probably know, bitterness is pretty much all about hops. Hops are the flowers, or cones, of a plant called humulus lupulus. Hops help to keep beer fresher, longer; help beer retain its head of foam—a key component of a beer’s aroma and flavor; and, of course, add “hoppy” aroma, flavor, and bitterness. 

And it goes on to explain how each kind of hops makes beer more or less bitter…

The key here is that Allagash is helping me feel smarter about a topic that I already care about without making me feel dumb for not already knowing the answer.  

And oh by the way, they are also putting their own products into the conversation, which makes it easy for me to go from a casual customer to someone who is proactively talking about their brand. 

The truth is that Allagash isn’t even among my favorite breweries, I’ll be tackling a couple of those in future episodes, but they have won me over with their content and I’ve started buying their beer more than I would have in the past because I read ALL of their emails. 

Learn more about beer here: https://www.allagash.com/category/about-beer/

So, what does that mean for marketers?

1) It is always a good idea to provide great education on Topics you know your customers care about. 

2) Educating in a way that is not at all condescending builds real brand trust, even if you don’t have the most high end product on the market. 

3) Tying what you do offer to that education can drive interest, awareness and sales - especially for your lesser known products.

That’s all for this week on the Marketing is Everywhere podcast. I hope you learned something, I wasn’t condescending, and that you want to buy whatever it is that I’m selling. (I’m not actually selling anything)

Thanks for listening and please send me feedback or great marketing at joshmendelsohn13@gmail.com