Excellent Brewery Websites

I’ve been toying with the idea of compiling a list of good brewery websites for a while.  Beer is a major passion of mine (currently drinking a Heavy Seas Peg Leg Stout), along with design, so lately I’ve been exploring the combination of the two. 

My search left me kind of dismayed.  From what I could see, the vast majority of brewery websites ranged from bad to downright terrible.  Do breweries just not want to shell out the money to get a good, reliable, typographically elegant and cleanly organized website?  All the microbreweries I know put so much love into their beers, and even into their print — why not their online presence? 

In the end I managed to find some pretty decent brewery websites, most of which are higher-profile, well known breweries.  Unfortunately, the vast majority use Flash.  This is another trend I wish breweries would stop.

Blue Moon
http://www.bluemoonbrewingcompany.com/

Though powered by Flash, Blue Moon uses the platform to its advantage, making one of the most colorful, fun brewery websites I’ve seen.  I love the illustrations, the texture, and how all of their beers have been painted for display.  The typography is also pretty nice — their chosen typeface has character but is still readable.  Overall, a brewery site with a lot of character.  (Plus, their Honey Moon?  Delicious.)

Yuengling
http://www.yuengling.com/

While not necessarily my favorite brewery, Yuengling has a nice website.  Good imagery, use of slideshow, typography, even use of flash.  I love the beer description animations.  It’s also well organized and consistently styled, and also incorporates an e-commerce section well.  It’s a bold and strong site.

Santa Fe Brewing Company
http://www.santafebrewing.com/

I’m not going to lie, all of the noises on this site are driving me a little crazy, and this site almost didn’t make the cut.  That aside, this site looks pretty nice.  I LOVE the background — the colors, the texture, it’s all really beautifully done.  It’s got a unique navigation, pages with actual body content are readable and nicely styled, and the site incorporates images well.

Pyramid Breweries
http://www.pyramidbrew.com/

Love the contrast.  Love the navigation and drop-downs.  Love it’s little collapsible newsreel near the footer.  The different backgrounds for beers (and the images of the beers themselves) are great, and I love the typefaces they chose.  Overall, a strong brewery website.

Guinness
http://www.guinness.com/

What can I say?  Guinness is sexy.  Just like their beer, Guinness’ site is dark, elegant, and oh-so-pleasing.  Great slider on the homepage, interesting way to organize content and navigate between sections, even video tutorials seamlessly integrated into the site that show you how to pour the beer correctly.  Guinness’ love of its beer shows through in it’s site.

Dogfish Head
http://www.dogfish.com/

Definitely my favorite brewery, Dogfish Head has a unique and zany site as unusual as they are.  Though it’s more cluttered than I would like, especially since the header is so top-heavy, once you get down to looking at individual sections and beers things get more organized and clear.  Their visuals reflect the character of the brewery well.  While it has plenty of room for improvement, I’m still a big fan of the wonky Dogfish Head website.

Samuel Adams
http://www.samueladams.com

Sam Adams is probably my favorite brewery site.  Probably my favorite parts of the site are it’s EXCELLENT typography and it’s unique navigation system, which conserves space without losing organization.  It’s full of different textures and colors, it’s got some pretty good functionality (check out the brews section and note the awesome slide format), and it goes beyond just the beer itself — there’s a section for pairing each beer with food, giving you multiple ways of finding the perfect meal.  Same goes for how to treat their beers — what glasses to use for each type, how to pour, etc.  There’s a lot of love and a whole lot of pride put into this website.  While Sam Adams isn’t my favorite brewery, by far it’s my favorite brewery website.

Breweries that almost made it:

Interested in your brewery having a kick-ass website?  Let me know.  I’m willing to work with breweries on a limited budget to either improve your current website or more.  I’m also willing to trade work for beer, to a limited degree.  I’d love to help you have the website you deserve, which shows your love for your craft.

Any breweries I didn’t mention with awesome websites?  Tweet me @melchoyce and let me know!  If there are enough, I can do a follow-up entry.

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