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Top Ways Liquor Websites Fail

Nearly all liquor websites are terrible for those of us looking for product information, brand history, or recipes. 

These things, you would think, would be their prime focus. As I spend a lot of time looking for product information, I have to deal with these sites all the time. 

Without realizing it, I have switched to an operating mode where I won't go to the website but will hunt down the PR contacts for the brand to send me information. Sometimes the PR contacts literally copy and paste the information from the website into my email, but you'd be surprised at how often the website information differs from the press information. 

Most liquor websites are so bad they are unusable despite spending thousands of dollars on them. Here's why. 

The Top Annoying Liquor Website Traits

  • Having the 21+ check on the intro page be anything more than a yes/no question. (I understand it may be corporate policy, but it's one that cuts down on visits.)
  • Having to put in the day/month/year of the 21+ check by erasing the values preset in the boxes ("mm/dd/yyyy") - so that's about 20 keys clicks before you can get into the site.
  • Having to also include the country of origin in the age check. (If the age is over 21, isn't it legal in every country?)
  • In the country of origin age check,  the top markets like USA/UK aren't the top selections- so you have to scroll down past Uganda to select them. 
  • No "remember this" option for the age check
  • A "remember this" option for age check that does not automatically forward you past it, so "remembering" it only does any good if you've bookmarked an internal page.
  • The website is an all-lifestyle site with music and happy people drinking the product, with no product information.
  • The website is only commercials that you can see on television. 
  • No clear "music off" button on every page.
  • The "music off" button resets to "on" when you switch pages.  
  • A flash welcome screen or site, so it doesn't work on many cell phones. 
  • All text is images or flash, so you cannot copy and paste the information. 
  • Especially recipes, which you may want to copy and paste to print out and have somewhere near the bar, rather than the desktop computer in the office.
  • All recipes are video demos.
  • A "creative" recipe database like a kaleidoscope or blob that lets you only find random recipes rather than specific ones you want.
  • A general misunderstanding of making things "fun to explore" vs. "hard to find".
  • A zillion recipes with no search function.
  • All the information/history/product information in a tiny little textbox with a scroll wheel. What about the other 80% of the page space? 
  • Not up-to-date for months after new products launch.
  • Auto-resizing your browser.

Top Good Things Few Liquor Websites Do

  • Have a "media" section with shareable product/bottle/drink images
  • Link to your official Facebook and Twitter and YouTube accounts
  • Have contact information: an email that someone answers or a referral to your Facebook/Twitter accounts if someone answers that
  • Rich information - the site offers deep research, tours of the distillery, geeky specifics for those who want it. 
  • Have a lifestyle section, but it is launched from a "launch the site" button rather than being the entire site. Then go ahead and resize the browser. 

Camper's Book: Tonic Water AKA G&T WTF is now available for sale.

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