"Bar Month" at OnMilwaukee is brought to you by Miller Brewing Company, calling Milwaukee home since 1855. For the entire month of March, we're serving up fun articles on bars, clubs and beverages – including guides, the latest trends, bar reviews, the results of our Best of Bars poll and more. Grab a designated driver and dive in!
Last spring, we brought you the news that a couple of beer-loving local guys had launched SipMilwaukee, a passion project to chronicle the history and rebirth of Brew City and tell the stories behind the area's growing beverage brands through sleek video vignettes.
This year, founders Tom Barthell and Mike Rooney have introduced a new, interactive element to their video series venture – after expanding the scope to create SipAround, which encompasses other locations – with the aim of getting fellow hopheads out and about, experiencing the numerous drinking establishments we have in Milwaukee at a discount. (Scroll down to get an exclusive OnMilwaukee promo code for even more savings.)
"Eventually, we wanted to not only educate the community on the beverage scene, but incentivize people to go out, sip the drinks and stimulate the growth of local businesses," Barthell said. "We spent most of 2017 designing and developing a web-based app, SipAround, that acts as our digital coupon system and hub for our video content.
"Locals can watch videos about various watering holes and buy digital coupon books, or SipTrails as we call them, that include killer deals at bars around Milwaukee."
SipTrails, exclusive digital coupon bundles for area craft breweries, tap rooms, distilleries and bars, are part of SipAround’s "commitment to connect beverage fans with a wide variety of beverage brands." Through SipMilwaukee, there are currently three options: the Craft Beer Trail, the GLD Cocktail Trail and the German Beer Trail. The SipTrails coupons, valid for six months, can be found at siparound.com.
The Craft Beer Trail, which costs $29.99, includes drink deals at 15 Milwaukee breweries and tap houses totaling $135 in discounts. It was rolled out Jan. 1 and is valid until June 30. It includes buy one, get one free deals on pints, brewery tours, flights and more at the following locations: Lakefront Brewery, Raised Grain Brewing Company, Explorium Brew Pub, Sprecher Brewery, Good City Brewing, Urban Harvest Brewing Company, the Fermentorium, Third Space Brewing, MobCraft Beer, Gathering Place Brewing Copmany, Draft & Vessel, D14 Brewery & Pub, City Lights Brewing Company, Westallion Brewing Company, The 024, Black Husky Brewing and 1840 Brewing Company.
The Great Lakes Distillery Cocktail Trail advertises more than $120 of cocktails at 14 Milwaukee bars and restaurants for $29.99 (valid until June 30). It includes buy one, get one free drinks, $3 cocktails and free cocktails with purchase of meals at Wicked Hop, the Garage, Sail Loft, the Nomad, Jackson’s Blue Ribbon Pub, Hi-Hat, Fuel Café, Great Lakes Distillery, Foltz Family Market, Fixture Pizza Pub, Drink Wisconsinbly Pub, Double Bs, Benelux and the Iron Horse Hotel.
Then there’s the German Beer Trail, launched Feb. 1, which is $12.99 for more than $40 in value. It offers buy one, get one free on half-liters at six different historic German bars – Old German Beer Hall, Kegel's Inn Beer Hall & Restaurant, Old Town Beer Hall, Von Rothenburg Bierstube, Von Trier German Tavern and Pandl's German Restaurant (valid until July 31).
So, how do you get and use the coupons?
Go to siparound.com, purchase a SipTrail and check out. Customers then receive two emails, a purchase confirmation and a list of digital coupons; to redeem, just show the email to the bartender or server at the participating location so they can tap to redeem and expire the coupon.
Barthell said the Sip squad is now brainstorming which new SipTrails to launch for this summer. They "definitely" plan to offer another Craft Beer Trail that includes some of the breweries opening this spring. They’re also coordinating a Beer Garden Trail and "might even experiment with a Wine Bar Trail or Old Fashioned Trail," but "we’re open to suggestions," he added.
"Another fun growth avenue for us is expanding geographically," Barthell said. "Under the umbrella brand SipAround, SipMilwaukee is now just one branch. We have two SipTrails opening for our launch of SipColorado this spring, along with a SipTrail going live in our SipSanDiego branch later this year."
Presently, SipAround offers coupon trails in Chicago, Madison and the Twin Cities. Barthell and Rooney, with SipMilwaukee, as well as a team of videographers and social media people, still produce their documentary-style videos covering all types of local beverage businesses. Check it all out here.
And, dear readers, get this: SipAround has created an exclusive OnMilwaukee discount. Simply use the promo code ONMKE25 at checkout and get 25 percent off your entire order.
Born in Milwaukee but a product of Shorewood High School (go ‘Hounds!) and Northwestern University (go ‘Cats!), Jimmy never knew the schoolboy bliss of cheering for a winning football, basketball or baseball team. So he ditched being a fan in order to cover sports professionally - occasionally objectively, always passionately. He's lived in Chicago, New York and Dallas, but now resides again in his beloved Brew City and is an ardent attacker of the notorious Milwaukee Inferiority Complex.
After interning at print publications like Birds and Blooms (official motto: "America's #1 backyard birding and gardening magazine!"), Sports Illustrated (unofficial motto: "Subscribe and save up to 90% off the cover price!") and The Dallas Morning News (a newspaper!), Jimmy worked for web outlets like CBSSports.com, where he was a Packers beat reporter, and FOX Sports Wisconsin, where he managed digital content. He's a proponent and frequent user of em dashes, parenthetical asides, descriptive appositives and, really, anything that makes his sentences longer and more needlessly complex.
Jimmy appreciates references to late '90s Brewers and Bucks players and is the curator of the unofficial John Jaha Hall of Fame. He also enjoys running, biking and soccer, but isn't too annoying about them. He writes about sports - both mainstream and unconventional - and non-sports, including history, music, food, art and even golf (just kidding!), and welcomes reader suggestions for off-the-beaten-path story ideas.