If there is one thing the pandemic has taught us it’s that people are not afraid to order things online. People can easily order flowers, plane tickets, clothes or dinner online but when it comes to alcohol that’s a whole other story. As consumers have gotten used to ordering just about everything online they’ve also come to expect to order alcohol online. That’s why when it comes to the distilled spirits industry the phrase DTC or Direct-to-Consumer Shipping is one of the hottest buzzwards in the industry right now.
The writing is on the writing is on the wall; Direct to Consumer shipping is on the way and consumers expect it.
That’s one of the reasons why Pernod Ricard has just announced the acquisition of The Whisky Exchange, a leading online and physical retailer and a reference for global whisky and fine spirits.
According to the companies website The Whisky Exchange currently stocks nearly 3,500 whiskies, of which about 2,300 are single malt Scotch whiskies, with 250 bourbons available and the remainder being made up of blended Scotch, grain, Irish, Japanese and other whiskies from countries including Wales, South Africa, India, Sweden and Australia.
In addition to whisky, there are more than 500 rums, around 400 vodkas, more than 550 Cognacs/Armagnacs, 400 gins, 150 Tequilas and nearly 1,000 specialist liqueurs. In all, something in the region of 9,500 products are active on the site and available to order online at any given time.
The site also boasts 43k customer reviews and worldwide shipping to more than 30 countries including the United States.
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Founded in 1999 by Sukhinder and Rajbir Singh, The Whisky Exchange includes an award-winning online store plus three Brick-and-Mortar stores located in the heart of London at Covent Garden, Great Portland Street and London Bridge.
With more than two decades experience under its belt The Whisky Exchange has been a pioneer in many innovative services and has become a truly omnichannel player, expanding its activities to on-trade supply and physical stores in the UK. It is also active in private sales and online auctions of rare spirits, two fast-expanding activities on which The Whisky Exchange will also develop innovative synergies with Pernod Ricard.
Pernod Ricard says the acquisition is in line with its consumer centric strategy of meeting new consumer needs and expectations, in a context of solid e-commerce growth and strong demand for premiumization. Pernod Ricard will leverage synergies between The Whisky Exchange’s expertise and its in-house platforms such as Drinks&Co and Bodeboca.
“After more than 20 years building The Whisky Exchange, we are delighted to be joining the Pernod Ricard family and working with them to take the business to the next level,” said Founders of The Whisky Exchange Sukhinder and Rajbir Singh.
“The Whisky Exchange and our customers have always felt like a family, and we are looking forward to maintaining this ethos with a partner that shares our values. Our mission remains the same: to offer the finest range of whiskies and spirits from the best producers around the world, educate and engage with consumers, and support the top on-trade establishments around the UK”.
“E-commerce is a key channel in our long term strategy,” said Chairman and CEO of Pernod Ricard Alexandre Ricard. “We are thrilled to work with Industry pioneers such as Sukhinder, Rajbir and the whole team to bring The Whisky Exchange to a new step of its development“.
The Whisky Exchange will continue to operate with its current team and structure, with Sukhinder and Rajbir Singh managing the business as joint Managing Directors. The closing of the transaction is subject to customary conditions.
In recent years, Pernod Ricard has extended its portfolio of specialty brands from around the world, with partnerships and acquisitions such as German ultra-premium gin Monkey 47, American whiskys Rabbit Hole Distillery, Smooth Ambler Spirits, Jefferson’s Reserve and Firestone & Robertson Distilling Co., Mexican mezcals Del Maguey and Ojo de Tigre, Spanish vermouth St. Petroni, La Hechicera Colombian Rum, among others.
As is often customary, the terms of the deal were not disclosed.