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Tom Nies

Dram 242 BV

Meeting the Demand for Whisky with Cincom Smalltalk™

You might be wondering what role Cincom Smalltalk could possibly play in the whisky industry.  For one whisky shop owner, Cincom Smalltalk has been a powerful force in providing value, simplicity and dependability―essential elements in promoting the success and growth of his business.

Did you know that whisky is manufactured using grains (malted barley for Scottish Malt), yeast and water?  It’s a huge global industry with almost every country in the world producing some kind of whisky.  The most important production country is still Scotland, but tremendous growth is occurring in Ireland, England, USA, India and Japan.

Growth in this market is coming from two demands:

  • After whisky sales dropped in the 1980s, they started booming again with the discovery and emerging market of blended whisky. This boom, which started in the 1990s, is still increasing today.
  • With the increasing sales of blended whisky, the interest in premium single malts also increased making premium single malts one of the most interesting investments today.
Introducing Dram 242 BV

Founded in September of 2012, Dram 242 BV is a family-run whisky shop located in Moorsel, Belgium. The company sells a wide variety of malt and grain whiskys from different countries of origin, as well as marketplace and independent bottles of whisky including single casks and cask strengths.

Over the last four years, Dram 242 BV has experienced a 5% growth in its local whisky market in Belgium. The company doesn’t have many competitors in its area, but less taxes from the online business of other companies in surrounding countries present a much greater challenge in which to compete.

Dram 242 BV Owner and CEO, Dirk Verleysen

Dirk is a long-time user of Smalltalk, developing in ObjectStudio since the Enfin days. Dirk has always wanted to take his passion for Smalltalk and use it in his life’s endeavors.  So, when the opportunity to start this whisky shop arose, he knew he wanted to find a way to use Smalltalk in it. His goal was to create a website and internal software to efficiently run Dram 242 BV.

“When Dirk first approached me about using Cincom Smalltalk for his online whisky business, I jumped at the opportunity to have him tie his passion for Smalltalk into his love for whisky. The usage feedback he’s provided to the team during development and deployment has been so valuable in letting us test our products in a real-world solution.  Dogfooding helps us deliver better products to customers, partners and prospects.” – Suzanne Fortman, Cincom Smalltalk Program Director and Engineering Manager

When it comes to software, there are many things a whisky shop owner needs to manage the business such as the ability to handle essential business applications like maintaining parameters, tracking inventory and handling sales and invoicing, among other things. Dirk always wanted his managing software to be web-based, so he started using Cincom Smalltalk for his business logic.

Since this was business management-related, he tried the Seaside framework and the SSP (Smalltalk Server Pages), but they couldn’t convince him to use it for these particular needs.

He selected Cincom Smalltalk for his business application needs because of the speed and fun of development. Cincom Smalltalk adds value and simplicity to developers like Dirk who are looking for application development tools for the web and other platforms. Dependability is key for businesses, and Dirk felt that the reliability of Cincom Smalltalk is very important in his market because when applications crash, it is very annoying to customers.

When asked if Cincom Smalltalk was easy to implement for his business, Dirk replied,

“Yes … we are small, but deploying an app is pretty easy with Smalltalk. In the 90s, you needed small images because they had to be distributed, and that was done on floppy disks. This is no longer a problem, so there is no need to make the image real small.”
When AppeX/SiouX became available, Dirk started to experiment with it, and it is his current setup for managing tools and the public website, dram242.be. AppeX is a very lightweight and flexible modern web application framework, and SiouX is a general-purpose web server that uses both HTTP and HTTPS protocols while squeezing as much scalability and performance out of it as possible.

“Our AppeX/SiouX web solution allows developers to utilize and integrate current web frameworks with a stable, object-oriented business domain built in Cincom Smalltalk.” – Arden Thomas, Cincom Smalltalk Product Manager

Like so many other successful users, Dirk talked about how using Cincom Smalltalk eased some of the burdens in his application development. He also claims that web development is very important for growing his Cincom Smalltalk usage for Dram 242 BV:

“The stability has been great! Developing applications for the web is very stable using SiouX and AppeX in Cincom® VisualWorks®.”

“I love what AppeX and SiouX provide with integration in existing frameworks like Bootstrap and Angular.”

One of the other benefits of Cincom Smalltalk is enjoyment, and Dirk shares the same love for Cincom Smalltalk as many other developers, mainly because developers can get more done and have fun in the process.  Thanks to Cincom Smalltalk, Dram 242 BV is efficiently helping to meet the world’s demand for whisky—another “tasty” industry that this exceptional technology is serving well.