By Karen On July 30, 2018

Websites for Distilleries: Does Your Distillery Really Need One?

During a breakout session at American Distilling Institute Conference, a distiller asked the very question: “Does my distillery need a website?” The breakout session was “Game-changing Social Media for 2018” with Todd Buckley. It was a good question though, especially in control states like Oregon where distilleries can’t sell product online.

If distilleries can’t sell product online, what’s the point of a website? Shouldn’t the marketing focus then be on social media strategy? Unfortunately, even without online sales we need to think about purchasing behavior, and much of that is influenced by online searches.

Yes, your distillery needs a website. On top of that, your distillery needs a website that is search engine optimized.

Think about the last time you thought about buying something, even at a lower price point, you probably researched it online first. You’re not alone. 60% of consumers start their research with a search engine before heading to a specific website, according to GE Capital Retail Bank. Additionally, 78% of local-mobile searches result in offline purchases, according to Search Engine Land.

So, imagine that a potential customer is searching for a locally made gin, and your website doesn’t come up in Google searches because your website is not search engine optimized. That customer will likely go with one of the options that is available to them, which would very likely be your competition. An optimized website is the first step in getting your bottles in the hands of consumers—even if purchases can’t be made online.

What does it mean to have an SEO optimized website? Search engine optimization (SEO) means increasing the quantity and quality of traffic to your website through organic search engine results. Every page on your website is an opportunity to target valuable search terms, so if your website is lacking content or consists of only a few pages—you may not be appearing in potential customers’ online searches.

Adding content in the form of website pages or blog posts can help, especially when the writing is SEO-friendly, and incorporates specific keywords based on research.

When you have content that the search engines can use, the more likely they will be to recommend your website or post to relevant search engine users when they are searching terms that are relevant to your products. Here’s an example. Open an incognito window in your browser and search “Oregon distilleries.” You may notice that this website comes up first. I did that on purpose by providing Google content containing the word “Oregon distilleries.” High-Proof ranks first for those keywords. Your distillery should rank first for similar keywords, and other words that potential customers are searching.

Got more questions about SEO and websites for distilleries? Contact me today to get the conversation started.


Karen Locke is Founder of High-Proof Creative. She has written about booze for magazines like GQ magazine, Bon Appétit, Thrillist, Sip Northwest, Chilled, and more. Additionally, Karen has many years of creative, and marketing agency work in Portland. She believes the darker the bar, the better.

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