Background: “The purpose of this site is two-fold,” explains Buddy Bojorquez. “First and foremost, the site seeks to tell the story of ESFUERZO Mezcal Artesanal, a multigenerational mezcal distillery in Oaxaca, Mexico, and specifically the story of the García family—the people behind this work. Second, the site celebrates and shares this special spirit while thoughtfully educating avid mezcal connoisseurs and newcomers alike. With more than 50 years of history built into the family’s distillery, we had the honor of building this brand together with 74-year-old mezcalero Margarito García and his son Artemio García Cruz.
“With the family, we developed the entire brand identity and set the tone of all the digital communications, ensuring that their traditional methods for making ESFUERZO Mezcal was properly honored and held in high esteem,” Bojorquez continues. “As the team behind the website and branding—and as the US partners of ESFUERZO—we believe that we did right by the family and accomplished our goal of being proper stewards of their culturally significant story using art and design.”
Design core: “We wanted the user experience to be fluid and layered, to move in between moments that are highly visual and stylistic and moments that are more focused and poetic,” says Bojorquez. “This layered experience begins the moment the site loads: There is a sense of playfulness when users land on the verification page that then transitions into a more artful, meditative moment. This invites users into the journey of making this layered and historic spirit.
“Our aim throughout each scrolled moment was to strip away any unnecessary elements from the visual language in order to really hone in on crafting a dynamic, meaningful narrative,” Bojorquez continues. “We sought for our design to constantly be a direct reflection of the García family’s craft and to always present their noble work as art. Overall, what we hoped to develop visually was an experience that was minimal but not cliché. We wanted our design to strike a balance between the family’s heritage and a celebration of quality craftsmanship.”
New lessons: “One key insight was learning when to visually scale back our efforts in order to place the mezcalero’s work at the heart of the narrative and avoid distraction from the core messaging,” says Bojorquez. “We sought for our design to play a supporting role; our desire was for our presentation to appear neutral in tone with light, stylistic and near-invisible flair. We were also very fortunate to work with a group of talented filmmakers and photographers who provided such beautiful imagery and content to work with, so it was all about finding the most effective ways of letting the elements alone draw in curiosity and engagement without overdoing it with design. So one of the constant challenges with the site became knowing when to stop and simply trust the content.”
Navigation structure: “The site reflects the experience of visiting a traditional exhibition at a gallery,” says Bojorquez. “It invites you to freely explore, learn and reflect. The intention here was to offer up accessible moments of discovery, introspection and knowledge, for both those new to mezcal and enthusiasts.”
Technology: “We decided to go with a new set of innovative tools that meet high standards of design,” says Sebastian Kacperski. “We knew that animations would be playing a huge role in the experience, so we had to choose a tech stack accordingly. We decided to go with Webflow, a relatively new platform that’s already been adopted by big brands. Webflow provides a complete solution from code deployment to the whole infrastructure, including worldwide CDN.