3 min read

How a 200-Year-Old Whisky Brand Used Magento 2 In Record Time

glass of whiskey on a table

About Our Client

For over 200 years, this client has been beloved around the globe for its premium Scottish whisky. They sell most of their whisky online, but their distillery is also a popular tourist destination where visitors can go on tours, tastings, and other events. In addition, it’s the only whisky to carry the Royal Warrant of the Prince of Wales, awarded in 1994 by Prince Charles himself.

prince charles of england selecting a glass of whiskey from a tray held by a man

In that same year, their popular loyalty program was launched, which gave members exclusive access to buy a limited-edition whisky blend sold only once a year. Loyalty membership is especially coveted because members receive ownership of a square foot of land on the distillery’s site upon signing up. This client used these steadfast traditions to nurture a dedicated fan base passionate about acquiring the annual whisky blend online. Due to the strength of the brand's fan base, a worldwide beverage conglomerate acquired the distillery and brand. In addition to holding its own amongst whisky lovers worldwide, this client has one of the most famous distilleries among visitors during Scotland’s most celebrated yearly events, the Festival Of Music And Malt.

glass of whiskey on rocks on table

The Challenge

Four weeks before the Festival, the brand's new parent company asked Kensium to perform a general audit of the client's then-current site. The website had stability issues and would often crash.

Issues with the website included:

The site was created using two separate systems: Drupal CMS and a frail initial setup of Magento shopping cart integration. In addition, the cart itself was insecure and unstable.

The web hosting platform did not have the bandwidth to manage the amount of traffic pouring in. Repairing the website was an option, but it would take time, and the client would have missed the Festival of Music and Malt, their biggest sales day of the year. 

With the highly anticipated influx of traffic from the Festival Of Music And Malt coming in a short time, the client was concerned that these issues would prevent loyal members and other buyers from being able to shop online. As a result, Kensium was asked to extend services from the initial audit to take steps to stabilize the website platform. 

whisky distillery equipment

The Solution

We built a new, optimized, and fully-functioning Magento 2 site in a record turnaround time of four weeks. In addition, Kensium enforced a strict deadline to have the website functioning 100% in time for the online sales event. Typically something of this scale would require 3 to 6 months at a minimum from inception to deployment. 

  • Kensium focused on managing internal team checkpoints and deliverables while holding meetings with the client's web design team every other day.
  • A dedicated Slack channel helped keep Kensium in direct and instant contact with the client parent company's IT team. As a result, extremely efficient communication allowed both teams to achieve the goal of launching the new site in time for the whisky festival. 
  • With the updates, all product details are now managed in Magento instead of in Drupal and Magento separately.

As a result, the client could assume ownership of a stable and secure website. In addition, user engagement on the website has jumped since the new site launch, and the client has been better able to leverage their resources and manage their sales effectively.

three people clinking whisky glasses together

The Numbers

ROI for the new site can be measured by the website results for the day of their annual online sales event. On the day of the Festival of Music and Malt:

  • Our client sold 1 bottle every 5.8 seconds.
  • 20,962 users visited the new website on the day of the whiskey festival.
  • This exceeded the client's expected users for our online sales event by over 30 percent.
  • Almost 500,000 euros of the product were sold during the online sales event, with over 3,000 bottles sold within the first 8 hours.
  •  A breakdown of product sales by the hour is in the table below:

graph of business results after implementing Magento 2

The Takeaway

Through the stellar features and stability Magento 2 Commerce offered, a great partnership with the client, and sheer hard work, our team was able to release a fully functional website that withstood the traffic of the client's biggest sales day of the year. When orders started clicking through, it didn't falter despite the incredibly high volume. All of this was done in the record time of four weeks.

The website was also built as a site model for our client's new parent company to use in Europe. In addition, Kensium architected the website to scale out to other brands in the beverage conglomerate's brand family, solving both the short-term needs of the client and the long-term needs of the client's parent company.

Kensium created a plan to scale server use based on demand and provided the client's parent company with a template, procedures, and a plan to deploy other additional similar websites for the company worldwide. 

The Magento Pagebuilder toolset allows marketing employees to do online merchandising without involving the IT department, a tremendous innovation for the client. Now the marketing department can direct content delivered to the consumer.

As a result of the site’s success, high functionality, and proven concept, the client's parent company has awarded Kensium the opportunity to work on seventeen more global sites. So contact us today, and let's start your new beginnings!


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