This is an excerpt from CODO’s Craft Beer Branding Guide. CODO Design has spent years working with startup craft breweries on naming, branding and positioning, responsive web design, and package design, and have gathered their experience into a comprehensive guide to help startup breweries navigate the entire branding process. Check it out and learn how to make your brewery stand out.
Whether we’re gearing up to work with a brewery-in-planning or helping a 25+ year old brewery rebrand, we see wide variations in what people think they need for their website. Some breweries come to us wanting features that are way too big (expensive) for their immediate plans while others aren’t thinking big enough. And every now and then, we’ll run into people who question whether or not they even need a website.
In any of these cases, we like to get people to think about their website in a few different ways so we can work toward an appropriate plan to move forward. The questions we ask clients are:
- Your website is a tool that works for you, 24/7. What’s the most important thing your website should do?
- You’re busy (presumably, you’ve got a brewery to run). What can this website do to make your life, your employees’ lives and your customers’ lives easier? How can we save time, automate processes, minimize downtime and mistakes and convert on other goals?
Once you work through these questions, we can begin to discuss overall scope and features. We’ve written about the web design process as well as some different types of websites, and won’t rehash that here. But we will touch on several common content and functionality requests we receive and offer our thoughts on whether or not they’re valuable for your particular brewery concept.
Common brewery website content types
First up are nonnegotiable things that belong on the barest of bare-bones splash page and the most feature-rich website. You need to clearly list your hours, whether you’re 21+ or family friendly, dog friendly, and if you’re feeling frisky, cat friendly. You also need to share your address, newsletter signup, social links and whether or not you serve food.
And if you’re looking for a chance to inject a fun Easter egg into your site, don’t forget to set your 404 page to redirect as needed. Where will you send someone if they’re not 21 years old? Or if one of your links breaks, messing up someone’s search? This can be a fun way of connecting with your fans.
Here’s where you can tell your story and connect with people. Why did you found your brewery? What does your name mean? What type of beer do you brew, and why? What role do you play in your community? Give people as much information as you can to bring them into your brand, your team and your beer.
Other than looking for the aforementioned boilerplate stuff, this is likely the biggest reason people visit your site. Your broader brand strategy and messaging should drive how you describe and present your beer. If you’re taproom-focused, a simple list may be best. If you focus on off premise, showing people your packaging itself along with specs can be a great way to help them know what to look for out in the wild. Make sure to delineate between flagships (year-round beers) vs. specialty vs. seasonal releases and share your beer release calendar (assuming it’s public-facing).
If you want to maintain a current tap list, you can go with a simple form through your website or use a service like Tap Hunter or Untapped. These all cool because you can update your current offering in one place and have it auto-populate on your website and anywhere else that communicates with the service (like Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Farmers Only or a digital tap list in your tap room).
And bonus points for folks who can effectively track and share what kegs are currently available for carryout. I hate driving all the way to a brewery only to find out they’re out of a particular sixtel when their site says otherwise. C’mon guys, don’t make me look like a jerk.
Read the rest of this post, including eCommerce considerations and info on events calendars, beer finders and brewery blogs over on CODO’s blog.
This column was provided by the folks at CODO Design, a branding firm based in Indianapolis, IN. They’ve worked with breweries across the United States and around the world, on naming, branding and positioning, rebranding, responsive web design, and package design. They’ve gathered their experience into a comprehensive Craft Beer Branding Guide to help startup breweries navigate the entire branding process. Check it out at www.craftbeerbrandingguide.com.