Monday, March 14, 2011

“About Us”: Knob Creek Gets an A

Knob Creek is a small-batch, 100-proof bourbon. Although no one at is a bourbon drinker, the company caught our attention with a striking full-page ad in Forbes. Their About Us page is here.


Personality and Products: A

The About Us page (cleverly called “Heritage”) presents Knob Creek as the brainchild of master distiller Booker Noe, who was enjoying a glass of bourbon and asking himself how he could produce a liquor that wasn’t “just another bourbon.” Then we read what’s unique about the way Knob Creek is produced, how it tastes and smells, and even how to drink it. We love the tie-in with Abraham Lincoln: although tenuous, it brings positive associations and a sense of history.

The “Did you know?” panel at the right of the Heritage page is another way of bringing a sense of history. It displays dozens of facts about bourbon whiskey, dating back to the late 1700s. The history panel makes Knob Creek part of a long tradition.

The only other About Us page for Knob Creek is on the Beam family. Again, the emphasis is on tradition. We’re told that the Beam family first produced whiskey in 1795, and that seven generations have continued the tradition. We’re shown a vintage photo of the family.

Nowhere on the Heritage and Beam Family pages is it mentioned that Knob Creek has been produced for only 20 years. Nor is it mentioned that it’s produced by Beam Global Spirits and Wine, which has annual sales of $2.5 billion and is owned by Fortune Brands, a Fortune 500 company. The target audience for Knob Creek is people willing to pay a premium for distinctive bourbon that’s not mass-produced. The Knob Creek site is narrowly focused to attract that clientele.

We like the fact that the layout of the whole Knob Creek site is rich reds and browns a black background. It sets a warm, cozy mood that’s appropriate for this product. The same text set using the color scheme of EMC’s About Us page (for example) would be far less effective.

Accessibility: A

In a clever, reverse-accessibility twist, the main page of the Knob Creek site states, “You must be of legal drinking age to enter this site.” If you leave the date at the default of 1/1/2011 and click “enter,” you’re sent instead to the website of The Century Council, a group of distillers fighting drunk driving and underage drinking. Of course, no one will know if you lie about your age--but then, you can’t reach into your computer monitor for a shot-glass of bourbon.

We give Knob Creek’s site an A for accessibility despite the fact that we can’t order the product from it or get a phone number for a sales person. The right kind of accessibility varies from one product to another. For this particular product, this level of accessibility is perfectly adequate.


The information and tone of the Knob Creek pages match the product. Sometimes less really is more.

Does your Web site’s “About Us” section accurately convey your organization’s history and capabilities? Every two weeks we evaluate one example, grading it in three areas that are key to potential customers: Personality (Who are you?), Products/Services (What can you do for us?), and Accessibility (How can we reach you?). Contact us if you’d like to have your site evaluated—there’s no charge and no obligation.

Today’s example was chosen at random; has no ties to this company.