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District Brew Yards

District Brew Yards is a brewing collective in the West Town neighborhood of Chicago, IL. It’s home to four breweries that share brewing operations as well as a large, engaging self-pour taproom and restaurant.

Each winter DBY puts together a Beer Advent Calendar, 24 Beers for the first 24 day of December. This project is about the success of email marketing campaigns in selling and increasing the Advent Calendar revenue.

Beer Advent Calendar

Advent calendars are all the rage these days and District Brew Yards knew they had the unique ability to stock a 24-day beer calendar with four brewery’s offerings without any distribution hurdles. DBY does have a beer shop to sell these creative boxes but wanted to pre-sell as many as possible through online orders, launched and promoted with an email marketing campaign.


Awesome Product

Target Email List

Creating Scarcity

The Assignment

The goal was to sell as many Advent Calendars as possible through online orders and use the shop to move any remaining supply. The target audience was DBY’s loyalty members, the Suds Club, treating the launch as a perk of being in the club before sales were open to the public.¬†


The Initiative

In Year I, I created a series of emails that announced, launched, and promoted the Advent Calendar in the months of September and October. The campaign needed to stress a sense of urgency around the limited supply of Advent Calendars and encouraged the audience to act quickly, believing the in-demand product would sell out. A series of announcement emails preceded the actual product launch, encouraging readers to open additional future emails or risk missing out on the launch itself. The launch email and subsequent promotional emails stressed the limited quantity of boxes, the variety of beers inside and the appeal of consumable goods as holiday gifts.


DBY’s Signature Voice

The tone of DBY is always friendly and approachable, as if a friend is making a personal recommendation. It’s perpetually encouraging customers to step out of their brewery comfort-zone and use the self-pour taps to create a new flavor adventure. DBY isn’t a regular brewery, it’s a place where questions, experimentation and goofing off are encouraged. Of course, these emails followed DBY’s signature encouraging style but they were also full of urgency and stressed the need for fast action. Several of these emails also came directly from me, cashing in on the relatability of the regular newsletter author. This allowed me to use my own voice, encouraging purchases with a bit of wit. They routinely utilized gifs with holiday and cartoon subjects, to emphasize this limited offer. The emails were also kept short with the call-to-action buttons being in the same screen as the body. The goal here was keeping the call-to-action as accessible as possible and limit the scrolling involved in purchasing. By using both my voice and the standard DBY voice while keeping all emails brief, the newsletters continued to feel fresh and were always easy to read.¬†


Sold Out


Increase Sales YoY


Open Rate

Year I

The response was incredible for Year I of Advent Calendar sales.

  • 80% of all Advent Calendars pre-sold in email campaign timeframe.
  • 65% of purchases were direct click-throughs from the email campaigns.
  • The limited number of calendar boxes created FOMO for Year II.
  • The accessibility of the email campaigns created open email dialogue between DBY and its email audience.


Year II

Year II increased Advent Calendar sales by 200%.
After seeing significant interest, DBY increased its product amount by 200% in year two to its absolute capacity. With the assistance of the email campaign, the Calendars completely sold out in pre-sales.

In Year II, we added a Christmas in July pre-sale opportunity. This promotion was scheduled to run for 5 days and sell no more than 33% of Advent Calendars for a $15 discount. Within two hours of the promotional email release, 50% of promotional capacity had been purchased. The promotional sales were at capacity within 48 hours and the Christmas in July special concluded early due to massive success.

  • 200% increase in sales YoY.
  • 33% of inventory sold 60 days in advance.
  • Product completely sold out in pre-sale timeframe.
  • The email campaigns had an average open rate of 76%, more than double the typical newsletter rate for DBY.
  • 54% of Calendar sales were direct click-through purchases from the email campaign.



The email campaigns for the DBY Advent Calendars have exceeded expectations in everyway. In partnership with hefty social media promotion, DBY has created yearly buzz for their advent calendar, resulting in dependable, significant revenue for the holiday season.

Turns out, 24 beers in 24 days, is a pretty good idea!



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