Leading a heritage brand through an online modernization
Wyeast Laboratories is an industry leader, providing the premium liquid yeast used in the production of beer, wine, cider, sake, and spirits, with products designed for home enthusiasts and professionals alike. Though well established in their industry as a craft brewing staple for over 35 years, Wyeast needed to refresh their brand identity and create a more functional website to both showcase and manage their comprehensive catalog of yeast and bacteria strains. Beyond our usual strategy and design work, for this project we took on a deeply collaborative and consultative role in helping to organize, categorize, and streamline the Wyeast product library in a way that was extremely user-friendly and ultimately much easier to manage on the backend.
Web Strategy | Web Design & UX/UI | Brand Messaging & Copywriting | Ecommerce Development
Best in the Biz
Wyeast has been supporting the brewing industry – and especially the craft brewing industry – almost since its inception. Beyond their innovative Smack Pack Activator product line (a unique and useful tool for home brewers of any level) Wyeast is known for their consistent and high quality liquid yeast and bacteria, allowing the largest craft brewers to confidently work with Wyeast and know their products will turn out the same year after year. Though they take a deeply scientific approach to their products, the team at Wyeast truly cares about their customers and prioritizes relationships and excellent customer service to create long lasting partnerships.
Refining a legacy brand through innovative UX/UI
As a well established company, we didn’t want to make any major changes to the look and feel of Wyeast’s brand. Where we saw the most opportunity for improvement was in updates to the site’s information architecture and how the products were featured. Because Wyeast serves such a large and wide-ranging customer base, it was important for us to find a way to guide any type of customer to the information they needed efficiently without limited exploration of the site through overly aggressive customer-type funneling. We accomplished this through a combination of filtering options on both products and resources and multiple pathways to find the relevant information for each customer type. We also created a custom eCommerce-style cart where interested customers can add products to ultimately get a quote from the Wyeast team. For existing professional level customers this cart becomes functional with a login, streamlining the process of ordering the product they already know they need. With this framework in place, we started one of the loftiest website tasks we’ve ever taken on: organizing and connecting an enormous library of yeast and bacteria strains and styles of products.
Organizing the backend
Featuring hundreds of strain types that can be used in dozens of different styles of final brew types, managing this product library had been a long term challenge for Wyeast. While we wanted the website to look beautiful and for it to be a useful tool for their customers, we also needed to create a more functional and sustainable solution for the Wyeast team to manage their products. And so began an extremely comprehensive deep dive into the world of liquid yeast and how it can be used to create every style of beer, wine, whiskey, and any other fermentable beverage you can imagine. With our development partner, we were able to create an interconnected backend that made the process of adding or updating products in their catalogue simple, with easy to manage filtering options, quick ways to assign yeast strains to a variety of styles, and an intuitive layout that brings together the functionality needed with the simplicity we were aiming for.
Modernization for long-term growth
When we work with well-established heritage brands, our goal is first to elevate what they’ve built and then to empower them with updated designs and better functionality. That’s exactly what we did with Wyeast. For the first time, they can accurately manage their inventory through their website, and their customers can browse their products and resources with a more intuitive custom UX/UI. Through an improved website design and a slight brand modernization, Wyeast is now set up to spend less time managing inventory and logistics, and can spend more time doing what they do best: creating long lasting relationships with customers through exceptional products and dedicated customer service.