How This Brewer Creates Educational Content to Connect with People

He called it ‘Adam Makes Beer,’ because that’s Adam Mills’ name and it says what he does. 

“It’s pretty straightforward,” he told the audience at his session at the Ohio Craft Brewers Conference this year. “I’m not incredibly creative.” 

Focusing on education and being positive, are two traits that Mills, the Director of Brewing Operations for Sonder in Cincinnati, says he is passionate about. 

“One of the things that I’ve always felt was, I wish I had somebody explaining to me what this industry actually was when I got into it,” he said about why he started his social media content creation, which includes a YouTube channel, along with multiple platforms to “farm eyeballs” to his videos, Reels, and shorts. “I’m trying to do that for people that are either considering entering or already entered.”

A former school teacher, Mills began brewing in 2011 and wanted to impart that education to more and more seeing the opportunity to grab his iPhone 8, a $50 Lavalier microphone, and $20 tripod and he began creating videos of him brewing.

“First of all, personally, watching yourself do manual labor is not flattering,” he said. “Let’s just be real. When we take pictures of ourselves, typically, we know all the angles, where we look most presentable. When you record yourself doing manual labor, for me, there are numerous vantage points that are unflattering. 

“There’s actually the personal leap of getting over having yourself on camera.”

It took him four months of shooting content before he even posted his first video in April of 2022 while working for Cartridge Brewing, but now sets a goal of posting something daily online to help keep viewers and make them fans of his channel.

“Getting occasional people to come in yes, but we want regulars,” he explained. “We want regulars in the restaurant and brewery industry, and you want regulars with this sort of thing too.

“Regulars are the people that are always going to be there that are pushing your brand beyond where you can push it. That’s where you actually access people who are passionate about what you’re doing. There’s a lot of value there.” 

Mills isn’t afraid of his DIY approach and said he didn’t want to be too over-produced with his content.

“I think you walk a line, if something looks too polished, and it’s too clean, and the branding of the place that you’ve worked for is everywhere … I think people start to push away from it,” he said. “I think people like people more than they like companies. 

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“I think companies can work with people to share that.”

And Mills keeps the DIY-ethos by doing as much as he can for free or cheap, from an old iPhone and inexpensive tools to produce it, including the Adobe suite of software along with DaVinci Resolve; and StreamYard for streaming. 

“I personally find it easier than the interface that YouTube gives you to stream off of, it’s more nimble, it’s easier to access the different devices that you’re utilizing,” he said. “I think you can get caught up on having things look too good, just so much focus on having things look and sound great that you can actually prevent yourself from actually starting to do it.”

An under-utilized “eyeball farm” he likes to use is LinkedIn as well.

“Sometimes LinkedIn can be overlooked, scoffed at by some people,” he said. “But there are people that you can easily find within your field to connect.”

A key to start is not to start too fast.

“I believe that whether you’re going to do a podcast or you’re going to start doing Reels on Instagram, I would actually build up a little content first,” he said. “It’s nice to be able to feed that algorithm a little bit. 

“One of the things that’s going to increase visibility for you is consistent posting.”

Mills turned his two live streams into podcasts and added them to Spotify and Apple podcasts.

“The only reason I’m doing that is it takes me five minutes a month and it’s super easy. It also makes you a podcaster as well and puts you on other mediums,” he said. “But don’t release stuff until you have a little batch of stuff to put out because you want somebody to tap on the next thing to go to.

“If it’s a singular video, then they want to see what you did next. And if it’s not there, they might forget you, they might not try to follow you. So try to have a little a little bundle of things to release first. You need reps to get better anyway.”

Another thing he said is, to be authentic. For him, that means being positive and PG, which is just the way he is. But don’t try to be someone else.

“It’s very, very important to be yourself,” he said. “Just talk about the things you’re excited about. It doesn’t have to be all educational stuff. Think about what you love about what you do and then share it with people. 

“It can be all photos on Instagram. It’s okay. Not everything has to be Reels. You can have different expectations of what you’re doing. But just talk about the stuff that you’re passionate about.”

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