An ICANNWiki profile of .Beer.
Considering that ICANNWiki is based out of Portland, Oregon, home to more breweries than any city in the world (61 in Portland and 91 in the greater metro area), I decided to profile a TLD that reflects our local culture.
The new .Beer gTLD, owned and operated by Minds + Machines, has been active since September 25, 2014. According to ntldstats.com, there are currently 8,152 registered .beer domains, ranking it 133rd among new TLDs.
.Beer is a TLD with an easily identifiable customer base. There are several key markets to be tapped, the most obvious of which is breweries and their beers. According to brewersassociation.beer, as of 2014 there are 3,464 breweries in the US alone.
To evaluate .beer’s success in this market, I searched the 50 bestselling US breweries for relevant domains. 14 of which had at least one active domain, including:
- Summerfest.beer (Sierra Nevada)
- New Belgium (29 domains)
- Stbc.beer (Southern Tier Brewing Company)
With over 25% of top industry players in the domain space, there is certainly promise for .beer. However, the prevalence of redirects and unused domains creates a sense of uncertainty surrounding the permanency of these domains. Of the 11 “pioneers” listed on join.beer, three do not have active sites and only one uses .beer as its primary domain. As new TLDs become more mainstream, it will be interesting to see if sites will migrate.
New Belgium, one of the “pioneers,” registered 29 domains. They registered their brands and a few generic domains. This includes find.beer, which redirects to New Belgium’s beer locator. However, they are not using newbelgium.beer or fattire.beer, likely their most valuable domains, which makes me wonder if they have plans for them or if they are just neglecting them.
Earlier this month, the Carlsberg Group, the fourth largest brewery in the world, registered over 150 domains. The portfolio includes their brands and a handful of generic domains. It will be exciting for .beer and the new gTLDs in general to see how a major corporation decides to utilize the new domains for marketing purposes.
Some of the domains have an obvious use, such as their beer brands: baltika.beer, tuborg.beer, and holsten.beer. Additionally, football.beer is expected to be used for marketing efforts surrounding Carlsberg’s sponsorship of the UEFA Euro 2016 Championship. However, some of their intentions are less clear, such as with wherestheparty.beer and takeyourseats.beer. Also, why did they register baltika1.beer-baltika9.beer?
Anheuser-Busch also registered a significant number of domains, including their corporate domain and most of their brands’ domains. My favorite of the bunch is natty.beer, because let’s be honest, nobody calls it Natural Light.
In assessing .beer’s penetration into the micro-brewery market, I used Portland as a case study.
I checked each Portland-area brewery and found that only three had an active .beer domain, including portlandbrewing.beer, burnside.beer, and hopworks.beer. Having just over 3% of Portland breweries in the domain space, while not representative of the broader market, demonstrates a lot of room for growth. With the micro-brewery population growing by over 25% a year for the past several years, .beer could definitely take off if it catches on with the artisanal crowd.
.Beer has several other creative uses. In my research, I found a few regional beer directories. Sydneyontap.beer and drinkin.beer both provide robust resources for beer drinkers in Sydney, Australia and the State of Indiana respectively. Likewise, Bend.beer provides information on breweries in Oregon’s other brewery hub, although the site is still under construction. There are also several examples of beer blogs taking advantage of the new TLD, such as passion.beer and barleyblog.beer.
Additionally, I found several examples of beer festivals adopting the new domain, including greatamericanbeerfestival.beer, bendbrewfest.beer, and festivaldelacervezaags.beer. Apparently, beer festivals haven’t discovered the value of a short domain.
The overall number of .beer registrations may not be staggering, but they have found a foothold in a growing market of breweries and beer drinkers. I look forward to seeing what the early adopters and future registrants eventually do with their domains.