Is Technology The Future of Direct Sales?

Brewbound seems to think so! Chris Furnari and Justin Kendall discuss the industry trend of direct to consumer sales after an interview with Dan Kanery of Harpoon Brewing on Brewbound’s new podcast. Their conclusion? Technology is the future:

"Direct sales are here to stay...  The breweries that figure out how to do it effectively, whether there is some sort of technological advancements through an app that allows you to reserve your beer and come pick it up...  Those are the ones that are really going to nail it.  If you can take advantage of technology to help me get my beer quicker, I’m all for it!"

The future is now! CraftCellr has pioneered technology that allows breweries to sell beer direct to consumer via our turnkey mobile platform. Breweries like Creature Comforts, Monday Night, Three Taverns, and Pontoon Brewing are all utilizing CraftCellr to create an amazing consumer experience and of course… sell more beer.

You can check out the full Brewbound podcast here (discussion of direct sales happens with 2:40 left in the podcast).

Perfecting The Art Of The Presale With Pontoon Brewing

Want to know the secret formula to crushing beer release presales on CraftCellr?  We do too!  So we went directly to one of our experts: Sean O'Keefe of Pontoon Brewing.  We'll sit and listen, while Sean spreads the knowledge...

Tell A Story

With every beer we create for our Serious Series, we try to do two things: tell a story and make it fun. Before you can successfully launch a presale, you need to make sure all the components of your release are complete.  The goal is to have all the components work together to tell the consumer a fun and compelling story about why they can't live without this beer.

Create A Timeline

At Pontoon, we shoot to launch our presales 10-14 days prior to the release date. We have created a repeatable process that keeps us on target and gives us enough time to maximize our sales:

  1. Teaser: The week leading up to our presale launch, we will tease our upcoming release on social. Post a picture of the ingredients, a sneak peek of the label art, or create a funny meme. Make sure to let consumers know what day and time pre-sales will go live.

  2. Launch: 10-14 days prior to release day, we launch our presales. Make sure to hit up all your marketing channels: social, email, Reddit, and any beer communities you belong to. Don't forget to post the URL! You will miss out on sales if you don't.

  3. Remind: About 5-7 days into the presale, we use our social channels to remind our consumers about the release. Many social channels, like Facebook, limit your exposure to followers, so don't expect to sell out off one round of posts.

  4. Last Chance/Sold Out: The day prior to the release, we send out one more post to our social channels. If there are a few 4-packs left, we send out last chance messaging. If the release is sold out, we let our consumers know there will be a limited supply for walk-in taproom sales the next day.

Allocate Your Inventory

We typically start with a 50/50 split. 50% on CraftCellr and 50% reserved for taproom sales. Then we adjust up or down based on beer style, previous sales, and demand. At this point, we have a good understanding of when we should place more on CraftCellr to maximize our sales.

Pro Tip: Keep your CraftCellr inventory and taproom inventory separate and clearly marked.  Always keep a small reserve of beer in case something gets damaged or beer mysteriously walks away on you.

Prepare Your Taproom

CraftCellr makes the process of verifying consumer purchases and pick up very simple with its mobile platform. I would recommend you do the following to ensure your staff is trained and the consumer knows what to do:

  1. Train your taproom staff about the CraftCellr mobile flow and print out and laminate instructions for behind the bar on how to verify a consumers purchase.

  2. Make sure your staff marks each offer as claimed on the consumer's phone, so you will have an accurate accounting of who has picked up their beer.

  3. Place signage near the pick up location reminding consumers of the URL and steps necessary for claiming their beer with their phone.

  4. Create additional signage promoting sign ups for CraftCellr. It's a great way to capture consumer information and create a return visit.

If you made it this far, thanks for the read!  Cheers,

Sean O'Keefe - Pontoon Brewing

4 Tips For Building Your Brewery's Email List

With new breweries popping up all over the place, its more important than ever to ensure you are building your email list and staying in constant communication with your consumers.  Here are 4 simple tactics for capturing email addresses from your consumers:

1. Place an information gate on your wifi.

Everyone loves free wifi.  So why not use it to your advantage?  With services like SocialWifi, you can ask consumers to enter their email address or connect with their social accounts in order to login to your wifi.  In addition to capturing your consumer's information, you can access demographic information, serve up discounts or special offers, trigger automated email marketing campaigns, collect customer reviews, and so much more. 

2.  Run social media giveaways.

The brewery tee is the new concert tee.  Run a few simple giveaways online, asking for consumers to submit their email for entry and watch the submissions roll in.  In the startup world, swag is currency.  You'd be amazed what people will do for a free t-shirt.  Just make sure your gear is quality and the offer is enticing.

3. Ask for newsletter opt-ins through your POS.

Are you asking for consumers to opt-in for newsletter or marketing communications through your POS?  Most major POS technologies like Square and Revel have turnkey solutions for asking for email opt-ins at checkout.  Make sure to turn on these services and let the POS systems do the work for you.

4. Use CraftCellr for bottle and can releases.

These days convenience is king and queen.  One-click purchasing on Amazon?  Yes please.  With CraftCellr's mobile platform, you can create an amazing consumer experience for all your beer releases.  Allow consumers to pre-order their beer and pick it up on their own terms.  Once consumers are subscribed to CraftCellr, you can easily download their information into a CSV file and import it into your CRM platform.

5 Things You Need To Know About Pre-Sales

It’s been three months since we launched our pre-sales feature with Monday Night’s Tear of My Enemies release and we’ve learned some interesting “truth nuggets” over that time.  Here are the top 5 take-aways we’ve gathered from conversations with our partners and consumers:


The team at Pontoon Brewing have a good thing going with the launch of their Serious Series.  But what really caught my attention, was the way consumers reacted to a simple “sold out” post about presales.  The post sent out a virtual bat signal to the market saying “if you want to have any chance at getting this beer, you better get off your ass and get in line early for walk-up sales.”  Sure enough, Pontoon had a line down the street on release day.


As a marketer by trade, I’ve always been impressed with the creativity and artistry of social media in the brewing world.  Unfortunately, while an amazing shot of your beer will drive brand awareness, it won’t necessarily result in a sale. Until now…  Keep creating amazing content and simply add a link to start driving presale revenues. Let the link do the work.


How far are your consumers willing to travel for your product?  Apparently pretty damn far! On multiple occasions I have talked with someone in person or on reddit who have driven from Athens or Chattanooga to Atlanta to pick up their presale reservation.  Each time I ask them the same question: Would you have driven all that way if you hadn’t pre-bought your beer? The answer: Probably not. This doesn’t just apply to cities outside Atlanta. Hell, driving from Alpharetta to the West End can be a haul depending on the day of the week.


Would Monday Night have sold out of their award winning scotch and bourbon barrel-aged Tears of My Enemies release without CraftCellr?  Without a doubt! But technology is all about the application. Monday Night’s strategy is to leverage their more anticipated releases to drive up their subscriber count, which in turn gives them a broader audience to email and text for all future releases.  Simple but brilliant.


I have to take my kids to soccer practice.  I’ll be out of town that weekend. I was hungover and forgot to go…. Life is hectic.  Your consumers see your amazing social posts all day long and thirst for your products.  But not everyone has the flexibility to be able to attend a release. The solution is simple.  Remove the obstacles for them. Presales allow people to engage immediately with your marketing and pick up on their own terms.  Empower your consumers with choice and they’ll thank you with their wallets.

If you have your own anecdotes, we’d love to hear them!  If you’re a craft brewery, cidery, or distillery and you haven’t signed up for your 14 day free trial yet… what are you waiting for?  We can have you set up and making money in less than 24 hours.  

One Bourbon, One Scotch, One Sell Out…

Selling out a release doesn’t come easy these days.  Every brewery release, high-demand or low, comes with its own set of issues.

How do I generate more awareness?  How do I manage long lines and wait times?  How do I make my release more unique and exciting?

The answer is simpler than you think…. Technology.

Monday Night Brewing adopted CraftCellr’s platform to capitalize on one of its most anticipated releases of the year, Tears of my Enemies.  Hot off the heels of winning a bronze medal at the 2017 Great American Beer Festival, Monday Night released two variants (Barrel-Aged and Scotch-Aged) of Tears of my Enemies through CraftCellr’s custom branded web-app.

The result?  One Bourbon, One Scotch, One Sell Out.


Convert “likes” into sales.  Monday Night has used CraftCellr as a launching pad for a number of its releases.  The main channels for driving sales?  Text messages and social media.  Driving presales is as easy as sending out a custom text message to subscribers or posting a link to social.



Long lines are a good thing!  It means you are making great beer.  But long waiting times are another story.  By allowing its most avid fans to pre-purchase and skip the line or pick up later in the week, Monday Night dramatically reduced wait times and operational burden on its staff.


Has anyone else noticed there’s a lot of new breweries out there?  The days of “if you build it, they will come” are over.  It’s time to be creative.  It’s time to get scrappy.  Monday Night put itself out on the bleeding edge of technology, because they wanted to create a better consumer experience.  Mission accomplished.