Background to the business
Palmers Brewery is a name that is synonymous in West Dorset for its beer. You can smell the distinctive aroma of malt as you walk along South Street and on into Bridport.
In the height of summer production, they can be brewing five days a week – an incredible 17,620 pints a day and between 50,000 and 70,000 pints a week. The brewery has been on the same site in Bridport since 1794 and this year marks 225 years of brewing in the town and the 50th anniversary of its managing director.
Palmers Brewery has an estate of 54 tenanted pubs in towns and villages across Dorset Devon and Somerset. They include the award-winning Anchor Inn at Seatown and the New Inn at Cerne Abbas in West Dorset. 16 of their pubs also provide accommodation which is a growing part of their offering.
All Palmers pubs are family friendly, dog friendly and guarantee their guests fine ales as well as a warm west country welcome.
Traditional brewing techniques and state-of-the-art machinery are two things that don’t always go hand in hand. But that is exactly what lies at the heart of Palmers Brewery to deliver perfect cask ale. Our job was to take this concept and incorporate it into the overall design brief and refreshed look and feel of their new website.
The challenge was to create a modern, intuitive online experience for beer lovers, whilst making the website a key resource for information on the Palmers range of ales and promote their food and accommodation offering.
Designed with craft ale lovers in mind, the Key team created something that is easy to use, informative whilst helping to instil a sense of tradition and local pride.
The project couldn’t have begun in a better way – a brewery tour!
We were keen to fully absorb ourselves in this project and see firsthand the craftsmanship that goes in to creating their range of fine ales. We spent the day with Head brewer, Darren who gave us a guided tour through the process; showing us how the grain is blended; the local stream that powers the water wheel; the science of yeast; right the way through the fermentation stage and on to bottling and barreling. His passion for beer-making is infectious and is something we wanted to emulate through the site.
Back at HQ we ran a planning workshop for the Palmers team, where we defined key objectives, explored audiences, functionality, sitemap, design and user experience (UX). Palmers is steeped in history – so we wanted to ensure that came across in the overall campaign. Whilst the site has new features and styles it also required a “nod to tradition”.
We channelled Darren’s energy and enthusiasm by creating beer tasting and related food notes. Alongside the imagery, we also incorporated subtle beer-related icons to really bring the brewing experience to life.
Our research identified that a large proportion of users would be on a mobile or tablet, so we optimised the site accordingly.
The design of the new site was created to accommodate three core areas of functionality:-
- Choosing a beer – select your favourite pint with flavour profiles and food pairing suggestions
- Find a pub – an interactive tool that incorporates mapping, dynamic filters, and links to their hotel booking software
- and support for new pub licensees – a separate microsite tailored for those interested in running a pub in the south-west
Two-thirds of the way through the build, Palmers decided to launch a new range of ciders. The flexibility of the design and development enabled us to add a new drink section without any difficulties. In July 2019 they launched a new craft keg – The Dorset Pale. Again the website was up to the task to seamlessly incorporate this new product into their range.
The team at Palmers Brewery are delighted with their new fully responsive website, and it is already making its mark with their tenants, delivering new enquiries and orders.
This has been one of the most fun projects to work on and we were particularly pleased to receive the email below :-
I just wanted to drop you a line and say how amazing it has been going through the process of setting up a new website with you and your team. I have been blown away by the response time, professionalism, expertise and ‘never say no’ attitude that Toby and Jamie have shown. (Toby makes a mean cup of tea, too). Palmers now have a digital presence that we can be truly proud of, and can’t thank you all enough. The board here are all very much looking forward to continuing our relationship and eager to see how the new site helps drive brand awareness and sales.
Jim Jones – Tenanted Trade Director
Key projects facts
- Immediate increase in website traffic – 50% year on year increase in website traffic
- Page 1 Google listing – Page 1 ranking for ‘Ales’
I have been blown away by the response time, professionalism, expertise and ‘never say no’ attitude. Palmers now have a digital presence that we can be truly proud of.Jim Jones – Tenanted Trade Director