FRANCE – The world’s second-largest wine and spirits seller, Pernod Ricard, has established a dedicated direct-to-consumer business unit that will focus on super-premium products, as part of its Transform & Accelerate strategy.

 Pernod Ricard said the new unit will start operations on 2 November, when it pulls together existing e-commerce assets The Whisky Exchange, Bodeboca, and Drinks & Co.

The Whisky Exchange, a UK-based online retailer has been operating since 1999, during which time it has expanded to physical iterations, running three off-premise specialist stores in London. Pernod Ricard acquired the e-commerce platform last year for an undisclosed amount.

The drinks giant acquired the Spanish e-commerce site Bodeboca in 2019, after being in the market for five years.

The Spanish e-commerce initially focused on wine, it expanded out to spirits and beer. At the time of its acquisition, it offered 90,000 SKUs and operated in 14 EU countries.

The main goal of the new business unit will be scaling up and trying to expand the group’s direct-to-consumer and “niche” B2B companies.

The Chivas Regal whisky distiller said the entity will act as an “autonomous business unit” operating within the group and has appointed Nicolas Oudinot as the unit’s CEO.

Before his appointment to Pernod Ricard, Oudinot spent seven-year at Gucci, where he rose to the position of chief digital business and innovation officer, followed by CEO of new business and e-commerce concept store Gucci Vault.

Both roles in Gucci involved growing global digital teams, as well as the piloting and scaling of new businesses in Gucci.

Pernod Ricard has been centralizing its efforts on e-commerce platforms to get the most that consumers and bartenders require.

Last month, Pernod Ricard USA, the largest subsidiary of the world’s second-largest spirits and wine company, launched a new and improved version of its premier online bartender education program, BarSmarts, as part of the company’s ongoing commitment to support the bartending community and push the hospitality industry forward.

With two levels, Basics and Professional, the BarSmarts program is designed to educate everyone from trained mixology professionals looking to level up their skills to new bar enthusiasts who are passionate about the art of cocktail making.

The platform also helps connect all participants with prospective employers, expanding opportunities for the next generation.

In July the Paris-based giant partnered JCDecaux in an innovative digital partnership in data management with the deployment of the Data Portal.

The Data Portal, developed since 2015 by the Pernod Ricard Data Center of Excellence IT team, serves the transformation objectives of the two French Groups, which have placed data at the heart of their business and their growth strategy.

The Data Portal, particularly ergonomic and intuitive, is a true accelerator of digital transformation.

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