With increased competition in the microbrew industry, Sierra Nevada has relaunched its website to better tell its brand story.
In an opening sequence in the video on Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.'s new website, founder Ken Grossman talks about the small but loyal crowd he first encountered when selling beer more than 30 years ago. This glimpse into the brewery's past - and the overall story of Sierra - is essentially the main theme of the new site, intended to appeal to that original audience as well as a new generation of craft brew enthusiasts.
Digital agency Digital Kitchen redesigned the site. It includes the aforementioned video as well as a blog and a Beer Locator.
"The prior site certainly, I suppose, lacked a bit of life. It was very information-driven and aesthetically it wasn't animated," says Ryan Arnold, communications manager at Sierra. "The new site bears much more content. It focuses on the story as a brewery - we want people to get to know us aside from just great beer."
Arnold says the brewing company was ready to revamp its nearly decade-old website when it was approached by Digital Kitchen in the summer of 2011.
In order to tell the story of the brand, Eric Oldrin, managing director at Digital Kitchen, says the agency took almost a documentary-style approach. He points to Sierra's history as a pioneer in the craft beer market and its reputation as meticulous and thoughtful.
"We wanted to create a site/film/story that reflects that underlying risk-taking notion," Oldrin says. "We heard that time and again from customers - they feel they can trust experimentation from Sierra even if it's crazy."
The resulting video is one of the main features of the new site. It includes Grossman as narrator. After it was posted on YouTube on December 11, it has garnered about 420 views to date. The video is also on Vimeo.
The video includes early images from the facility and brewers, as well as local imagery, information about hops and related beer reviews from YouTube.
"The Sierra Nevada story is as much about the customer who's been drinking for 30 years as the brewery itself," Oldrin adds.
Digital Kitchen points to increased competition in the microbrew industry as a motivating factor behind the relaunch. For his part, Arnold says the new site should attract anyone exploring the craft beer market.
"Sierra is unique in its ability to talk about quality and consistency," Oldrin says. "But that also gives them license to experiment and be more daring, which appeals to the craft-centric drinker."
But, given that Sierra has historically had something of an aversion to advertising, the site is also meant to serve as a resource for those curious enough to find it, Oldrin says.
Sierra is pushing its new site on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. @SierraNevada has 49,000 followers and 169,000 likes.
Arnold also notes the video is a great tool for its sales team to use in the field.
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Lisa Lacy is senior staff writer at ClickZ. In addition to ClickZ, her work has appeared in The Huffington Post, The Luxury Spot, LearnVest, MarthaStewart.com, GoodHousekeeping.com, amNewYork, and The Wall Street Journal. She's a graduate of Columbia's School of Journalism.
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