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Cheers to Pernod's First D2C Launch in the US

Bottles of spirits on a tray


How should a world-renowned brand launch their first D2C experience in the US with a new brand name?

Pernod Ricard is accustomed to their big name brands—you might have heard of some of them:

Examples of Pernod Ricard brands such as Jameson

Pernod had a 2018 goal to launch their first direct-to-consumer (D2C) brand in the US—a big move considering this channel will be home to their iconic brands and a focus for their future growth. The new D2C venture, Drinks & Co, was against the grain. This venture meant new ways of thinking, new platforms, new roles of team members—a whole lot of new to embrace at once.

We were in charge of creating their digital experience. How should we lead users through the site? What do we want people to feel as they engage with the brand? How should we build it? To create a plan of action for a frictionless experience, we started with their audience.

“We learned about the average wine drinker and how the industry has changed with the millennial focus over the last five years. With that information, we constructed goal-focused user journeys with touchpoints for each persona that uses the site.”

Example of persona


With an optimal commerce + content experience as the goal, a Drupal + Shopify Plus integration was the answer.

The integration leverages Drupal to control all product data like listing pages, sidebars of related products, highlighting products in content, personalization—you name it. We configured the import to happen hourly so changes to existing/new products in Shopify flow into Drupal near instantly.

When you integrate Shopify into Drupal, you can allow the Shopify data to be cached in Drupal. Despite data flowing between systems, the Drinks & Co site maintains excellent performance so that the user experience is still quick and seamless.

Example of wine product page


When someone has found the right wine for their occasion, such as a developer after launch day, they can click an add to cart button just as they would if they were on the Shopify platform.


Mobile view of drinks and co site

There is a shared cart linked between Drupal and Shopify so that people can see their cart count even when in Drupal, such as the Explore page which features educational resources about wine.


Screenshot of the Explore page which has various content types such as articles, recipes and more

With Drupal, the Explore section offers an engaging content experience that has multiple content types such as recipes and articles.

A fun challenge for us to solve turns into an unprecedented integration for the leading wine shipping regulation tool

There's an app for that except for ShipCompliant which was an absolute requirement for the project. ShipCompliant takes the hassle out of wine shipping regulation but had never been integrated with Shopify Plus because it was going to be a huge investment.

Despite the warning signs, we went for it and built a custom middleware that turned out to be a good fit. There is the Drinks & Co site on Shopify, there is the middleware (our integration), and then ShipCompliant.

Diagram showing how ShipCompliant is connected to Shopify Plus

Without this integration, the Drupal + Shopify Plus setup would have likely had too many drawbacks to work. There’s no question that this integration was complicated which is why we understand that it was a non-starter until now. Despite the complexity, there is no lapse in performance or loss in functionality for the Pernod team.

Passing bottles around the table for this one 🍾

Consumer purchasing habits are changing rapidly as millennials and gen-z buyers takeover as the dominant consumer groups. By using Shopify Plus, the Pernod Ricard team has deftly taken a quantum leap forward and positioned their brands to be bought the way young consumers want.

A mash-up for the ages, the combo Drupal and Shopify Plus has big advantages for Pernod:

  1. Best of Both Worlds. By leveraging an integration approach, you get the best of both worlds—outstanding content experience layer and an outstanding ecommerce layer.
  2. App Ecosystem x2. Drupal has 10,000+ free modules and Shopify has a growing app ecosystem as well. This can result in better functionality that would be costly or lengthy to build on your own.
  3. Save $$ for Other Projects. Finally, you get cost savings. You are getting Shopify as a service, so you don’t have to pay for the backend. Drupal is open source, so you are getting it without a license fee. Drupal may be free but it can do what more expensive CMSs, such as Sitecore and AEM, can do.