Everything Wisconsin & USA Microbreweries is a Facebook group for beer lovers, where folks can share news, information on new beer releases and small breweries, and the like.
But it’s also more. As craft brewers have held drive-thru events, hosted online beer festivals, collaborated to raise money for hospitality workers and even created game apps, group moderator Jason Schneider has also used the platform as a means for helping small businesses during the challenging months of the pandemic.
“I started the group on March 28, 2020 to feature breweries in Wisconsin so that we can learn more about them and support them during this pandemic and going forward,” says Schneider, who is an investor in Stock House Brewing.
Breweries are featured in the group each month and also have the option to offer a giveaway or a deal of the month via the page to help drive sales.
“Along with that I look to be a resource for them if they can use my services or if they need any recommendations on services that they can get help with that,” says Schneider who works at a digital marketing firm, too.
“I just let them know about the company I work for, Kkom inc., and if they (don’t) use it, oh well. I have a big passion for craft beer.”
The latest deal in the group, which has 396 members, is from The Explorium, the details of which can be found here.
“Any sort of outreach and base building goes a long way right now,” says The Explorium Owner Mike Doble. “Getting new folk familiar with our brand is so important to expanding customer base. That’s why I suggested the giveaway for the tour and tasting.
“Hopefully a few more people in the door and we’ll survive this nightmare.”
Last summer, Schneider started another Facebook group based on the same goal. Wisconsin Small Businesses, Restaurants, Bars and Breweries can be found here.
Other groups have also been created on social media to help facilitate bars and restaurants in the area reaching a wider audience during the pandemic.
One particularly popular one is MKE Bars & Restaurants, which has more than 3,200 members.
"We have at least a couple of food bloggers/podcasts as regulars," says moderator Dianne Crowley. "Growth is at around 200 members a week with no promotion.
"It is wonderful to see the spirit and creativity of our area bars and restaurants. I don't think a lot of people realize how lucky we are here."
Born in Brooklyn, N.Y., where he lived until he was 17, Bobby received his BA-Mass Communications from UWM in 1989 and has lived in Walker's Point, Bay View, Enderis Park, South Milwaukee and on the East Side.
He has published three non-fiction books in Italy – including one about an event in Milwaukee history, which was published in the U.S. in autumn 2010. Four more books, all about Milwaukee, have been published by The History Press.
With his most recent band, The Yell Leaders, Bobby released four LPs and had a songs featured in episodes of TV's "Party of Five" and "Dawson's Creek," and films in Japan, South America and the U.S. The Yell Leaders were named the best unsigned band in their region by VH-1 as part of its Rock Across America 1998 Tour. Most recently, the band contributed tracks to a UK vinyl/CD tribute to the Redskins and collaborated on a track with Italian novelist Enrico Remmert.
He's produced three installments of the "OMCD" series of local music compilations for OnMilwaukee.com and in 2007 produced a CD of Italian music and poetry.
In 2005, he was awarded the City of Asti's (Italy) Journalism Prize for his work focusing on that area. He has also won awards from the Milwaukee Press Club.
He can be heard weekly on 88Nine Radio Milwaukee talking about his "Urban Spelunking" series of stories.