Drupal Website Development: BreweryFans.com | Accella Accella

BreweryFans.com / Overseas Development Gone Wrong

Brewery Fans

Brewery Fans Social Interaction Website

Category: Social Interaction Site
Launched: August, 2010
Backend: Drupal
Awards: Silver Addy

Services Performed:

About BreweryFans.com

BreweryFans.com tried using an overseas firm to design their site…

When you enjoy the work you do and are passionate about it, all of the sudden it’s no longer work, but fun. That is exactly what BreweryFans.com has been for two college buddies that launched the site in 2008. Their goal is to help consumers find specific beer brands from as well as help breweries stand out in a sea of craft brewers, imports, and large breweries.

BreweryFans.com approached Accella in quite a bind. They were in the process of developing a new website in Drupal using an overseas vendor. While the vendor was inexpensive and promised a fully functioning website, the results did not work out like that. Missed deadlines, poor communication, and problems with the development proved too much for Jonathon Lunardi, CEO & Co-Founder of BrewerfyFans.com.
“There wasn’t an existing website that was like what we were trying to build,” said Jonathon of his website. “For an overseas company to be able to understand our business model and what we were trying to accomplish was too difficult.”

Enter Accella:

The first move for Accella was to dissect and truly understand what the goals of the site were. Armed with that knowledge, they took a look at the existing code provided by the overseas company. Written in Drupal 5, Accella noticed that the development started with Drupal and was coded to fit into templates without any reference to the Drupal API. This resulted in a poorly designed site which had its fare share of bugs. Accella provided a technology analysis of the site to Jonathon along with two options, either work with the existing code and patch it up, or start from scratch using Drupal 6 which would provide more functionality and a cleanly coded website.

BreweryFans decided to scrap the original code and start anew. Accella’s CEO Jason King and developer Max Rakhimov were able to take the project and run. With the knowledge of what BreweryFans.com was looking to accomplish and the process they were looking to initiate, they were able to intelligently make judgment calls during the development process on the client’s behalf while requesting feedback on larger decisions.

The Technical Info:

The backbone of the system is based on CCK and views. The Panels module of Drupal was implemented in the BreweryFans.com design; the panels feature allows an administrator to easily define menus, access permissions, path info, and content sections with almost a drag and drop functionality. It also allows the admin to override default node pages and push different data to those pages.

The initial data load comprised of roughly 2,000 breweries worldwide with another several thousand lists of beers and locations. With a custom developed import module, loading the breweries, beers, and locations was performed in a single step.

Modules implemented include:
How the Site Works:

The fan pages of the site (brewery pages) act as a hub for all brewery-related information, such as beers produced, brewery contact information, comments from users as well as integration with social media sites Facebook, YouTube, Flickr, and Twitter. Each brewery has the ability to customize their page by adding their own logo and banner images as well as description text about their history and values. Each beer on the brewery page has its own image, allowing each brewery to have a custom fan page to present users with brand identity and recognition.

The BeerSpotter area of the site gives users the ability to find and explore beer locations. It uses a combination of views, custom code, and JQuery to instantly load beer location information, which when combined with Google API interfacing along with GMAP module, displays results on a familiar Google Map. Store Finder uses similar functionality to allow users to search bars and retailers by city and state.

The Beerfolio area of the site allows users to login and track beers that they have tried from the represented breweries. The information that they provide is then shared with the breweries, giving them valuable feedback on their beers as well as where their actual customers are located. Breweries can promote the launch of new beers via their fan pages and alert users of locations that they can try and buy their latest brews.

The Results:

After roughly two months, Accella was able to help BreweryFans.com launch their new website with all of the crucial features. Updating the site is relatively painless through Drupal’s back end system. Now registered breweries can see where their fans live and track demand for their beer.

BreweryFans.com has added in new functionality to the site since it’s initial release including social media integration with FaceBook and a Beer Buddies section. With plans on adding more breweries, distributors, and retail locations, BreweryFans.com looks to be on the road to success.