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Site of the Week: Don't drink it, explore it

By Alexis Thornlow
January 3, 2017

A website for a Greek spirit called Metaxa delivers an innovative and interactive experience while allowing the user to discover what this unique spirit is all about. The tagline of the company and URL says it all—"Don't drink it, explore it."

Upon entry of the site, you are greeted by a black and white video of Metaxa Ambassador Mike Horn, a renowned South African explorer, who introduces three ways to explore the whiskey: to look, listen and sense. A pulsating icon of an eye draws you in with the words "click and hold to look." Horn states, "You don't drink it, you look at it," before a beautiful full-width montage launches of him during clips of his solo expeditions. "Click and hold to listen" is the next set of instructions which is prefaced by a new video of Horn stating, "You don't drink it, you listen to it." While swirling around the ice cubes in a rocks glass, the sounds of that movement are parallel to the detailed tones from his many excursions. Finally, the user is instructed to manually click the ear icon and drag it into the "drag and drop to sense" circle. A third video plays, with Horn announcing, "You don't drink it, you sense it."

These three videos and statements of how to not just drink the spirit are all available on the homepage. But there are more details about the spirit throughout the site. A vertical, not horizontal, hamburger menu opens a large navigation menu which holds information about the Ambassador himself, the product and a contest. Each of these pages are designed in a vertical scrolling timeline-like organization. Text animates in as you scroll—nothing is stagnant. The site is peppered with black and white bio photos of Horn, as well as gorgeous colored images on the product detail page. The ice in the rocks glass is reminiscent to the many mountains he has explored, which tie the Ambassador perfectly into the brand of this luxurious 12-star whiskey.

Exploring the Metaxa 12 Stars website was definitely a journey for me. I learned the proper way to drink a fine whiskey, who Mike Horn is and why he is considered one of the world's greatest explorers, and the history of the product itself—all without getting bored with the design and development of the site.