The French love affair with the very finest food and drink and the nation’s enthusiasm for Scotch single malt whisky is well known. So perhaps no one should be surprised by the fact that the driving behind the outstanding whisky website is the brainchild of two French brothers.
Connosr.com is, in simple terms, a social network site for whisky enthusiasts – originally a platform for novices and experts alike to swop views and news on whisky but rapidly emerging in to something more dynamic, comprehensive and exciting. It’s just about to celebrate its second birthday after a low key launch, but what sets it apart from many other websites is the way it has rapidly grown in the last few months.
The brains behind it are Pierre and Jean-Luc Thiebaut and according to Pierre launching it was a logical step for brothers who share a love of whisky.
“Jean-Luc and I work well together and we’d been saying we should collaborate on a project for a while but we were just waiting for the right thing,” he says.
“Nothing like this had been done successfully for whisky. We’re passionate about whisky and also about the web and its possibilities, we felt the whisky world needed an online platform like this.”
The brothers make a natural business fit, with Pierre experienced in digital media and advertising and Jean-Luc working as a web developer.
“He’s the geeky one, so he looks after the technical stuff,” says Pierre. “I work more on the creative and production side.”
Connosr.com was launched in April 2009 for friends and went public that summer. But in the last year it’s success has been phenomenal. So how does it work?
“In a nutshell it’s like Facebook for whisky fans,” says Pierre,“which thrives on a vibrant, active and fast growing community of whisky enthusiasts from around the globe. It’s free and easy to create a profile page and it’s aimed at anyone who likes whisky - from novice to seasoned whisky connoisseur.
“The site has nearly 2,000 whisky reviews, contributed by our members - currently around 5,000 - and it’s packed with cool features and tools which allow users to catalogue their whisky adventure, share information and find out what others are tasting.”
The brothers film at distilleries for the site and have launched an on-line magazine called Connosr Distilled, which attracts a very healthy 60,000 readers each month and which includes contributions from some of the top writers in the whisky industry. They also attend whisky shows with an entertaining video review booth called WhiskyPod.
So how have they managed to become so successful so quickly?Pierre has no doubts.
“Most independent whisky websites are about people creating a platform for their own views,” he says.
“ Connosr is different, the aim is to create a platform for other peoples’ views - be that everyday whisky fans, on the community network, or whisky writers, in the magazine. The thrill for us is to see people taking advantage of that and dreaming up new ways to help them do it.”
The success means more work for the brothers, but they’re prepared to put in the effort.
“We never stop - from the moment we wake up, to long after our families are tucked up in bed, we’re working on it. Jean-Luc looks after the technical aspects and I’m increasingly spending time working with the industry who are getting more and more involved.
“We have so many new features in development, and projects on the go, that this is going to be an even busier year than last. We are on a mission to bring whisky to a wider audience.
“It’s an exciting time for whisky, a whole new generation of enthusiasts is emerging, and we hope to remain at the forefront for many years.”
SMWS 33.103 (Ardbeg), Amrut
Jean-Luc Thiebaut Age
Glenrothes 1985, Yamazaki 18