Welcome to the first installment of the GRAYBOX local blog series, where we draw attention to local businesses and offer our expert advice/observations regarding their websites.
Deschutes Brewery / 210 NW 11th Ave
Deschutes is the undisputed "powerhouse of pour" in the Pearl District and a titan in the Oregon brewing industry.
It is a place where the barstools are always warm, because they are always occupied (good luck snagging one for yourself). It is frequently regarded as the busiest and most visitor-friendly of the 61 breweries in Portland, owing primarily to its elite location along the streetcar line only a few puddle-jumps away from the heart of downtown. We love the cozy lodge decor, which radiates a vibe of rustic sophistication and reminds us of our own office. Oh, yeah, and the beer is pretty easy on the tastebuds too.
Deschutes wears its crown proudly, perhaps unaware that it simultaneously wears another crown to which its loyal legion of followers might be entirely unaware: Deschutes has the best website of any brewery in Portland.
"Deschutes has the best website of any brewery in Portland."
(CLICK TO TWEET)
What We Love
Here's what we love about DeschutesBrewery.com:
- Elegant design: While it remains true that beauty is in the eye of the beholder, there are also features (in the web design world) that are considered universally beautiful. Deschutes is runway ready with its sleek and responsive design, dynamic imagery, and simple but streamlined color scheme. This is a website with visual strut.
- Front & center: It's all about the beer. Unlike countless other brewery websites, DeschutesBrewery.com peacocks its beers by proudly displaying them very prominently on the homepage. The visual impact encourages exploration, delivers knowledge, and undoubtedly plants the seed for future cravings.
- Simple navigation: Understanding why people are visiting your website, then catering your design to meet those desires, is a pillar of exemplary web design. The Deschutes website clearly understands this principle and chooses to display only what is most sought after in the upper navigation - beer, more beer, and even more beer.
- Concise text: The only creative writing that should exist on a homepage is writing that delivers value to a potential visitor. Too often webmasters fancy themselves dramatic poets and are overly verbose. Writing (particularly on the homepage) should be concise and to the point. When your visuals are beautiful, it behooves you to allow those visuals to speak for you, rather than clunkily ramrodding uninteresting sentences into every nook and cranny. Deschutes skillfully walks this tightrope.
- SEO: Though its tactics are not mind-bogglingly advanced, Deschutes still stands head and shoulders above its local competitors in the ongoing joust that is SEO. The website very adequately covers the SEO 101 basics, and also stretches into more advanced tactics like clean navigation silos, friendly URLs, speedy page-load times, etc.
- Social media: Social media efforts cannot officially be considered part of the website itself. However, Deschutes earns an 'A' in social media for its "Goldilocks" approach to posting in Facebook and Twitter (not too often, not too infrequently, just right), as well as for utilizing creative images and ideas in its posts.
We commend you, Deschutes Brewery, for being equally as adept at crafting a website as you are at crafting beer. See you at happy hour!