Mobile screenshot of St Austell Brewery site

Case study

St Austell Brewery

Making life easier for St Austell trade customers

St Austell Brewery has been brewing delicious beer ever since 1851. Recently, they realised they needed to transform their digital presence to boost efficiency and future growth. True was up for the challenge, and, soon after launch, the website has already shown impressive results generating an entirely new revenue stream for St Austell. True is here to tell you all about it:

Skills used

  • Architecture
  • Branding
  • Design
  • ERP
  • Digital Strategy


  • Food & beverages

Partner doing the case

A brewery with great history 🍻

St Austell Brewery has been brewing beer in Cornwall since 1851. Fast forward 167 years and while traditional brewing techniques remain, innovation, passion and craftsmanship continue to evolve. Expertly brewed, bottled and barrelled in Cornwall, St Austell Brewery’s range of award-winning beers continue to flourish. As well as its range of celebrated and award-winning Cornish beers, the company also owns more than 178 pubs, inns and hotels across the south-west. 

Poeple having beers at St Austell Brewery

Time for change ✨

The breadth of the St Austell Free Trade range is significant, yet could only really be experienced via an extensive excel spreadsheet alongside a seasonal product brochure. This made communicating that breadth and exploiting the sales opportunity a challenge for the sales team. Relying on a road-based salesforce to drive product discovery and an in-bound telesales team to take orders can be inefficient and restrict future growth.

True was engaged by St Austell to re-platform and develop a digital presence for St Austell’s B2B facing, the newly devised parent company - St Austell Family Group (SAFG). A key requirement of creating was to develop a wholesale proposition for the free-trade that would act as step one towards a fully transactional e-commerce platform for St Austell’s B2B customers. Our benchmark of success was deemed as being a recently developed St Austell Wines website with online order enquiry functionality -

Transforming St Austell's digital presence with Umbraco 💪

Tablet with screenshot of the St Austell Brewery webiste

Our discovery process identified several business and customer factors that led to a phased approach to developing a Free-trade e-commerce platform for St Austell Family Group. The business was in the process of implementing a new ERP system, which meant all aspects of product inventory and discreet pricing data were under review, as well as accounting processes and practices. We also identified that, whilst not against the idea of ordering their drinks online, it’s not a default expectation or existing behaviour amongst St Austell’s customers or the general market, yet. So our approach focussed on launching with a browsable online supermarket-style interface that could be used to build an order ‘enquiry’ for customers to discuss with telesales, attain a price and transact over the phone.

This approach would enable the business to take a leap forwards in enabling existing customers to more easily discover and browse the full drinks range in their own time and ‘nudge’ customers towards ‘self-serving’ for the longer-term. Our phased approach not only outlines how we will take the audience on the journey towards transacting online but also planned operational changes across four key phases of implementation and investment. It also factors in the development of a wider St Austell Family Group digital presence for B2B audiences beyond the free trade. Creative Solution The SAFG wholesale site is the first customer-facing iteration of the newly developed St Austell Family Group brand, which meant working with St Austell’s internal design team to establish how the brand guidelines should be interpreted for digital.

Screenshots of the St Austell Brewery website
Mobile screenshot St Austell Brewery website

We ensured a simple and intuitive product categorisation and SKU hierarchy would make it as easy to discover new products as it is to reorder recurring ones and repeat standard orders etc. Our ultimate aim was to make it as easy for customers to build and submit an order as it is for them to do their own online grocery shopping - an established and (hopefully) intuitive behaviour. The new site also allows St Austell to run and manage their own sales promotions on products and to monetise key site real estate through supplier led promotions.

"We were impressed with True’s forward-thinking ideas and strategic approach. Our teams are collaborating well together in the creation of our new digital portfolio, with the first release of a new trade site having gone very smoothly.”

Kristian Andrews, Design Manager, St Austell Brewery

And some amazing results followed 🙌

Launched in December of 2019, anecdotal feedback from the St Austell Free Trade team, the sales force and customers alike have been resoundingly positive. So much so that the St Austell Wines Website set as an original benchmark will be incorporated into the site later this year. Furthermore, the wholesale site has helped St Austell to generate an entirely new revenue stream through supplier led sales promotions. The results couldn't be better!

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