Back in 1780, John Jameson made a batch of triple-distilled whiskey so good he named it after himself. Nearly 250 years later, Jameson Irish whiskey is widely regarded as some of the world’s finest.

Like many of the finer things in life, a dram of Jameson is best savored slowly. But in today’s world where every business has become a digital business, Irish Distillers—the folks who produce and distribute Jameson, not to mention a host of other spirits—know that the speed and performance of your website are essential to the digital customer experience.

irish distillers logoPart of the Pernod Ricard conglomerate since 1988, Irish Distillers employs more than 600 people combined at its Dublin and Cork locations. Having sold more than 5.7 million cases of Jameson in 2016 and celebrated 27 years of consecutive growth, Irish Distillers is now active in more than 130 markets worldwide, with over 60 of those markets currently enjoying double- or triple-digit growth.

Today the company is more committed than ever to ensuring that its online presence is as distinctive and crowd-pleasing as the drinks on which its reputation rests.

Saying no to slow

When Pete McVicar joined the company in 2016 as head of IT marketing and sales solution, Irish Distillers was in the process of redeveloping the websites of Pernod Ricard’s signature products—world-renowned brands such as Jameson Whisky and Absolut Vodka—to be more consumer-friendly. Having relied on New Relic in previous roles, he knew the ability to monitor back- and frontend performance was just what the company needed to optimize its websites.

Pete soon learned about slow-downs that had affected the existing sites in the run up to the most recent St Patrick’s Day celebrations (the equivalent of “Black Friday” for companies that sell Irish whisky). But, he says, “It was all anecdotal information. I couldn’t tell whether these comments represented the true user experience unless we looked into Google Analytics.” Even then, “we couldn’t see where it was fast or slow, and thus couldn’t truly figure out how to improve the user experience.”

St. Patrick’s Day or not, slow-downs and web page fails are always bad for business. So Pete and his colleagues were determined to make the online experience for their customers as smooth as a fine whisky.

Growth through agility

Integral to this vision was his team’s commitment to the DevOps model of collaboration between developers and operations. Fortunately, tools such as New Relic APM and New Relic Browser make doing DevOps easier. “We do two-week sprints in which the weekly email reports from New Relic play a critical role,” Pete says, “allowing us to see not only how well new features are performing but how they’re affecting the rest of the site.”

Previously, Irish Distillers relied on external marketing agencies to offer insights into the company’s diverse array of global customers. Now, thanks to the deep understanding provided by the New Relic Digital Intelligence Platform, Pete and his colleagues can get this invaluable information on their own immediately. Better still, says Pete, “we can use the data we’re gaining from New Relic to really look at long-term performance. This is massively important for Irish Distillers’ continued ability to grow its brands globally.”

Also crucial to that growth is recognizing the significance of mobile. “With more than 60% of our U.S. traffic mobile-based, it’s critical for us to be able to understand actual response times so that we can provide the same stellar experience to customers accessing our content via mobile devices. Thanks to New Relic Mobile, we should be able to do so,” says Pete.

Sky’s the limit

As this company founded on tradition continues its journey into a bright future, digital intelligence looks set to play an increasing role in the company’s success. For Pete and his team, that’s a tasty prospect.

“We have a Consumer Insights team that’s just begun to cull from the digital realm, looking into things like what’s trending on social media,” Pete says. “As that team and others grow, they will begin including more of the data from New Relic. From there, the sky’s the limit as far as what we can do with the data at our fingertips.”

To learn more about how Irish Distillers relies on New Relic to make sure it’s never closing time for its customers, read the full Irish Distillers customer case study.


B.J. Hinshaw is a freelance writer based in Northern California. View posts by .

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