A Broken Down Rollercoaster at Ardbeg

by Oliver Klimek on February 15, 2010

Today, thousands of Ardbeg fans were sitting in front of their computers with itchy fingers and increased saliva flow, eagerly awaiting the launch of the new Committee realease Ardbeg Rollercoaster. In the official announcment mailed out a week before the launch, Ardbeg had recommended them to order from their website as it would be quicker than by mail.

But already hours before the launch at 9 am GMT on the 15th of February, Ardbeg’s website was practically offline. If you were lucky enough to log onto your commitee account, trying to open the shop pages resulted in errors upon erros, and in case you finally made it, pages took several minutes to load. And then at 9 o’clock, the website almost fully broke down. After a looooong wait, the shop page sloooowly loaded, but without the rollercoaster. Was it already sold out?

Needless to say that many of those wanting to buy the Rollercoaster were very disappointed because they were not even able to place an order. And surley many of them wished that they had sent in their order by snail mail. Although the chance of success wouldn’t have been very big, at least the order would have made it to Ardbeg at all.

Ardbeg has been labelled as “Apple of the whisky industry”. From a quality standpoint this is certainly true, and they sure know how to hype a product as well. But the one thing that sets Apple apart fom Ardbeg is that they have the logistics to actually cope with the hype they create.

Even if Ardbeg manage to get the site up and running again, and with the Rollercoaster for sale that is, there will be a bitter aftertaste.

Please Stop This Hype!

In case anyone from Ardbeg is reading this:

Were you honestly surprised that there would be such a rush to your website after having recommended this to all committee members? When making such a ballyhoo about a new release, you should make sure that people actually have the chance to get it. Check and double-check. If you are not able to deliver, then please stop making such a fuzz about limited release launches and sell your whisky like everybody else does.

Are you asking yourselves just how your competitors manage it to sell their limited releases to the last bottle without such a kind of hype? But trust me, it will work.

{ 3 comments }

Gal Granov February 15, 2010 at 11:52 am

That’s very embarrasing for Ardbeg, and very vexing for us committe members.
also when i logged on to the site at 0900 am Israel time, the countdown page was out of order since it didnt know what to do next. (we’re GMT +2 here). also, very unprofessional. members from SA also shared this issue.
now, the site is still down, the shop is down.
did u ever hear of Capacity planning? Load balancing? who runs the Ardbeg site? this is no minor Glitch.
oliver, i agree with all your writing.

Shame.

Mark Dermul March 10, 2010 at 1:45 pm

I agree. But again, it worked to their advantage, did it not? They got just a little bad press, but it’s still press and people’s interest remains peaked. I’m sure they are selling like crazy. I was able to order late at night the next day and had order no. 3146 or something like that and only received my bottles last night. So it took Ardbeg up to three weeks to get the 3000th order out the door? Wow.
At the end of the day, it’s not about marketing or load balancing for me, but about the actual product: the Rollercoaster expression. And I’ve tasted it last night, much to my approval (I gave it an 84), so after all is said and done: I’m a happy camper.

Oliver Klimek March 10, 2010 at 1:50 pm

I have managed to order the Rollercoaster as well the next day. I already had a dram and it was quite nice indeed. Tasting notes will follow soon, BTW.

But still I think, they should have been better prepared for the forseeable rush. I believe they have learned their lesson with this incident.

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