You may be wondering when you read this article’s headline, “Isn’t this going to be exactly the same as the winery website article you guys wrote about?” In one sense, yes, it will be, but in another sense absolutely not. While wineries and breweries are similar in their functionality—both create alcoholic beverages and cater to fans of each kind—the means to creating such products are in fact quite different. And to the wine aficionado who hates the taste of beer, the two drinks and thus the rest of what’s involved in marketing them are verydifferent!
One thing both types of industries have to do is ensure they stand out amidst their competition. Medicine Hat, Vancouver Island, and Saskatoon for example are all home to brewery companies, so already the competition is steep. With a website though, you can make sure your company has the edge you need to stand out. These other tips we’re going to outline for your brewery’s site can help too.
Figure out what’s needed before it’s built
One of the biggest mistakes we’ve seen breweries do with their websites—in fact, this applies to almost all businesses—is they either want things that are too big (expensive) when they’re just starting out, or they’re a well-established brewery but they’re not thinking big enough. We’ve even run into the odd place where they question the need to even own a website in the first place (and if we haven’t clear enough before, the answer is yes—here are some other reasons why you really do need a website).
In all of these cases, we’d like for you to think about your brewery’s website in a few different ways so that we can work towards the best plan to getting you the best website possible. A few examples of questions we ask include:
- What’s the most important thing your website should do for your business? After all, it’s the tool that works for you 24/7.
- We know you’re busy (after all, you’ve got a brewery to run). So what should your website do that will make your life, your staff’s lives, and your customers’ lives easier?
- What kind of audience do you want your website to attract the most? (No, we don’t just mean ‘all beer drinkers’. Each generation is different, and naturally we don’t want to attract anyone under 21 years old. Really think about this before we design your website.)
Once you’ve consulted with us through these questions—possibly more, depending on what you need to know—we can begin discussing your site’s overall presentation, features, and design.
Barebones basics your brewery site can’t nothave
Even if your brewery’s website is very simplistic in its design, these are non-negotiable features you can’t afford to not keep on the website.
- You need to clearly list your brewery’s hours, whether or not they’re friendly to 21+, kids, and dogs (and if you’re feeling lighthearted, cats).
- You need to share your address, phone number, e-mail, a newsletter sign-up, social media links, and a clear indication of whether or not you serve food at your brewery as well.
- If you do serve food, include the menu; if you don’t, then don’t, but you also need to outline what’s acceptable and what’s not. Are customers allowed to bring in outside food, for example? Do you offer snacks, or not?
- You need to be clear on where your customers can buy your brewery’s products. Is it online only, or can they find your brews in liquor stores? If so, which stores and where? Do you offer anything to loyal customers? If so, what?
Basically, contact information, membership benefits, menus, and product details should all go on your brewery website. If your site doesn’t have this basic info, and you’re forcing customers to go on a hunt for it, then get your site changed or redesigned. Odds are if that’s how your site is functioning right now, those customers you really want are going to your competitors instead.
Highlight you andyour beer
Your brewery site’s about page is the place where you can really connect with your customers. What type of beer do you brew, and why? What made you decide to found a brewery? What does your name mean? How long have you been brewing? What kind of role do you play in your community? You need to give your customers as much information as you can so they come and even return to your brand, team, and beer. You can do this via a text-based about page with images, or even have a video or videos. Make sure if there are videos that the tech involved is compatible to run on your website.
Other than this and the aforementioned barebones basics, your site needs to feature the thing that all of your customers are looking for: your beer. Your brand’s messaging and strategy should be the centre of how you describe and present your beer online. If your brewery is taproom-focused, a simple list may work the best. If you focus on off-premise sales, showing off the packaging along with details on where to buy is a great way to help people know where to look for you. You also should differentiate the specialties, seasonal, and flagships (i.e. year-round beers) on your website. If there are kegs currently available for carryout, make it a point to help people effectively track and share that information too.
Website features that enhance your brewery’s brand online
A lot of these features we mean are in fact similar to that of winery websites, but in both cases these features work perfectly in your favour. If you want to retain and earn new customers that will be loyal to your beer and brand, then these website features will help.
- Calendar of events. If your brewery participates in a lot of local events or craft beer festivals, then this goes in the list of non-negotiable features your site absolutely should have.
- Blog/news section. If you’ve received a lot of press releases about your brewery, or you have lots of information to share about your brewery, or have some cool tips on brewing for example, put all of this into the blog. Don’t forget to re-distribute this content to your social media or in an e-newsletter as well.
- Restaurant section. Like we said, you need to be clear to your customers about the food you serve (if at all), or if you don’t what kind of options are available.
- Career opportunities. This will depend on how big or small your brewery is. If you are hiring, let people know.
So, now you know more about what should go on your brewery’s website. If you need help to get a new website built to replace your older one (especially if it’s out of date), or you’re a budding brewery in need of a new site, then give us a call at V3 Media. We’ve helped lots of companies get a new website they can be proud of. Maybe now it’s your turn!