Growing a Craft Beer Audience During the Pandemic with Entertaining Content, Creative Contest & Digital Campaigns

How this Case Study may be relevant to you: This marketing campaign required creative problem solving to identify result-driving tactics that would grow awareness and future visitation within time and marketing constraints.

We helped Red Shed Brewery increase awareness among target audiences - with web traffic up 270%, email subscribers up 108% and social media followers up 165%.

A creative contest inspiring future visitation generated 14,740,910 impressions from digital advertising, 451 entries and 381 email subscribers.

Photo Credit: Immagine Photography
Photo Credit: Immagine Photography

Situational Analysis

Mid-2020, Red Shed Brewery (RSB) was looking to grow visitation to their Cooperstown Taproom to make up lost revenue from the pandemic. Research indicated that people were excited to start traveling after state-mandated lockdowns were lifted but were going to stick to drive-to destinations within 2-4 hours. This worked in RSB’s favor as they have an expansive outdoor beer garden and are located within 1.5 hours from several cities in Upstate NY.

They were also already thinking about 2021 plans, when they were hoping to begin distribution of their craft beer in cans to new markets: Hudson Valley and New York City.

The Challenge

Red Shed’s taproom was operating at limited capacity due to executive orders and controlling in-person demand. They were also up against a tight timeline - the closing of their Taproom in mid-December for an annual winter break and a State-funded marketing grant expiring at the end of 2020.

Photo Credit: Red Shed Brewing
Photo Credit: Red Shed Brewing


  • Develop creative and entertaining content that highlight the Red Shed Brewery experience.
  • Create greater awareness of Red Shed Brewery among day-trippers to drive immediate visitation.
  • Grow awareness of Red Shed Brewery within Hudson Valley/NYC for future market growth.
  • Build audience and engagement to plant the seeds for future visitation to Red Shed Brewery.

Strategic Insight

For Red Shed Brewery, it’s about the people.

Red Shed’s beer brings people together for good times, whether it’s customers that come to enjoy craft beer with family or friends, or the friendly and knowledgeable staff eager to introduce customers to a beer they will love.

Red Shed Brewery is an overall experience for visitors: craft beer, good food and great times. Messaging focused on the taproom’s unlimited space to safely accommodate visitors – and the connections people make over its beer.

Photo Credit: Immagine Photography

Strategic Approach

With the cancellation of annual events that typically brought visitors to the area, an understanding of the travel research, and the foresight of eventually distributing cans to a new audience, Red Shed Brewery needed to find creative ways and compelling reasons to encourage visitation from “day trippers” (those from surrounding towns within 2-4 hours of Central New York) and grow awareness among craft beer drinkers in Hudson Valley and NYC.

Photo Credit: Immagine Photography
Photo Credit: Immagine Photography
Photo Credit: Immagine Photography
Photo Credit: Immagine Photography


  • SEO & Website Updates: including 6 blog posts
  • Content Creation: professional photo shoot, produced video visually telling Red Shed’s story, a series of short, feel-good videos describing Red Shed’s beers and atmosphere
  • Facebook Advertising: a series of Facebook Ad campaigns targeted those in a 2-hour drive market; and those in Hudson Valley and NYC
  • Digital & Print Advertising: including in regional publication True Brew Magazine
  • Email Newsletters: sending regular newsletters and tactics to grow the subscriber list
  • Social Media: posting on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter
  • “Where Do You Beer” Online Contest: held December 2020 with a prize giveaway, employing these tactics as well as display advertising and PR outreach



As a result of their marketing efforts, Red Shed saw an increase in:

  • Web traffic (up 270% from 2019)
  • Email subscribers (up 108% from 2019)
  • Average open rate for e-newsletters (25.8%, up from 21.2% in 2019)
  • Social media audience (an increase of 165% for users combined across channels)

Facebook Ads driving awareness and visitation reached 967,111 users, and PR efforts earned 16 placements with over 41 million media impressions.

The “Where Do You Beer?” contest received 14,740,910 impressions from digital ads, 44,895 pageviews, 451 entries and 381 email leads. It was touted as the “Marketing idea of the week” and one of “The 25 best craft beer sales and marketing ideas in 2020” by industry publication, Craft Brewing Business.

"Where do you beer?" Online Contest

At a time when people felt disconnected from each other, the contest reminded people of good times with good beer and invited them to #BeerHereSoon when safe to visit in the future. Open to NY State residents, users answered “Where do you beer?” by selecting from 4 choices:

  • At home with my family, watching the game
  • Right at Red Shed, by the bonfire with friends
  • On the go with my significant other, whether it’s camping or at the lake
  • Relaxing in my backyard with my neighbors.

Each answer had a related prize, plus Red Shed merchandise and gift cards from area attractions to use during a future visit.

A large digital advertising push (display, discovery, search, audio, Facebook & Instagram) promoted the contest among the target markets: Central NY, Hudson Valley and NYC. Ads used “Where do you beer?” messaging to highlight the connectedness that comes with craft beer.