Portfolio: Crushpad’s Brixr

The idea behind Brixr was to build an engaging web experience around wine tasting. In late 2009, Crushpad prototyped a new production method of using 1.5 oz. “tiny bottles” put together in packs of 4, 8 or 12 around a particular theme. This was an outstanding way for a consumer to taste a variety of wines, without the commitment of buying a full 750ml bottle.

The main goals for the home page were two-fold: primarily to showcase and sell the tasting packs, and secondarily to feature the library of tasting videos to keep the user engaged. During the soft-launch of brixr over Christmas 2009, we saw an extremely high conversion rate, and completely sold out of tasting packs.

One of the fun features of Brixr were the “live tastings”: where we would set up and broadcast live video from the floor of popular wine events. This way, if a user couldn’t make it to an event (say, the Rhone Rangers event in S.F.) they could order a tasting pack of featured wines, and watch a live interactive tasting session with the winemakers. And, if the user didn’t make the live event, we’d store a copy of broadcast and they could watch it “on-demand”, at their leisure.

Initial response from the wine press was extremely positive, and tasting the wines along with an influencer were surprisingly fun.

The main Brixr site was written in PHP/Zend Framework with prototype for the front-end and MySQL as the DB. We also used Magento as the platform for the storefront. Much of the Magento store data was communicated between the two systems via web services (SOAP) and leveraged caching layers (APC, Memcache) for performance.