The third largest craft brewer in the US started with a repurposed cheese vat and a five barrel production of Stout. Sierra Nevada has revolutionized how Americans drink — and think about — beer. But founder Ken Grossman’s vision predates his bottling: he opened The Home Brew Shop in Chico, California in 1976 because beer-making and beer-drinking should bring people together. 

2020 will mark the 40th anniversary of the brewery, and Social and Media Manager David Hermann tells ToneDen that the brand is much more than bottles and cans. With breweries in Chico as well as Mills River, North Carolina, Sierra Nevada never slows down.“We have event sites at both of those facilities and we also have two separate experience teams. The field marketing team does partnership events with other programs and our experiential marketing team does on-site and off-site major experience events for consumers, things like Beer Camp Festival and our Oktoberfest Festival.”

Sierra Nevada’s experiential offerings draw major crowds. “We’re constantly selling tickets on Eventbrite,” says Hermann. And thankfully, with ToneDen’s Eventbrite integration — find it under Paid Social Ads — advertising those tickets is easier than ever. 

“The relationship with Eventbrite and ToneDen supports awareness and ticket sales for upcoming events throughout our entire organization.”

Beer > Coffee

Hermann’s comes from a marketing background. He specialized in consumer packaged goods and craft beverages, including specialty coffee, before taking the position at Sierra Nevada. “I realized I liked drinking beer more than coffee,” he admits.

These days, he brings his beverage knowledge to bear on Sierra Nevada’s robust events program. From overseeing community management and content performance analytics on social media to working directly with partners in national media, Hermann’s day to day orbits around advertising strategies that support the brewery’s major sales and events initiatives.

With a packed calendar of programming, Hermann found himself looking for a way to “improve our advertising flexibility and efficiency, and broaden the number of programs here on-site in Chico and Mills River that had access to advertising.” He had been running campaigns on Facebook Ads Manager — admittedly useful, but “tedious.” When Eventbrite offered Sierra Nevada access to ToneDen via an in-app integration, Herman saw a chance to diversify Sierra Nevada’s remarketing and crush the advertising on social media.

“Anyone who’s doing social media advertising for events could benefit from this, but primarily it’s going to be people who are operating lean and mean.”

The result? Hermann counts among the benefits of ToneDen the baked-in A/B testing capability, easy-to-read analytics, audience targeting superpowers, and the budget automation algorithm. Finally, Sierra Nevada is able to pinpoint the power of their campaigns. Says Hermann: “We’ve been able to expand the complexity of our advertising with less effort than we had to use before.”


Accessible data is the key to complex advertising, and ToneDen gives Sierra Nevada just that with a clear, shareable dashboard. “It’s a quick and easy story to tell to anyone in leadership,” Hermann says. 

A recent success story those numbers told includes sausages and steins and dirndls. Sierra Nevada’s Oktoberfest Festival, which is held in two locations: Chico and Mills River, are one of the highlights of the brewery’s fall event season for experiential marketing. This Mills River happening includes live music, all the autumn feels, and, of course, beer. 

Using the ToneDen integration in Eventbrite, Sierra Nevada built a conversion campaign that ran on Facebook and Instagram. Targeting attendees of past Mills River events along with website visitors, lookalike audiences, and more, the campaign ran for three weeks with a $1875 budget. 

More than 100,000 people viewed the ads and almost 4% of those people engaged. With 220 orders resulting from the campaign, Sierra Nevada’s saw a 10x return on ad spend, bringing in $18,667.

Even better? “ToneDen helped us to sell out our Oktoberfest festival at Mills River a month and a half before we had expected to sell out,” Hermann says. “It forced me to go back and adjust our advertising with other parties, such as print and radio because we had to change the messaging now that tickets were no longer available. It was a good problem to have.” In 2020, Sierra Nevada will now host 2 nights of Oktoberfest in Mills River.

ToneDen: “The Correct Way to Be Marketing and Advertising” 

Sierra Nevada is coming up on its 40th anniversary next year, and the brewery is planning big things. “We are actually going to be taking the original brewhouse on a tour,” Hermann shared. “And we hope that a couple of those are ticketed events that we’ll be utilizing Eventbrite and ToneDen to hopefully help support a little side story.”

In the meantime, he recommends ToneDen. “Anyone who’s doing social media advertising for events could benefit from this, but primarily it’s going to be people who are operating lean and mean: high-level focus on budget, spend, and efficiency.”

“This is the correct way to be marketing and advertising,” he says. “It’s working.”

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