Author(s): Robert Murphy
The biography of Paul Ricard--whose eponymous company Pernod Ricard produced and popularized pastis, an anise aperitif from his native Marseille--embodies a wonderfully rich business success story of the 20th century. Overcoming significant adversity amid the turmoil of the 1930s, Ricard built a renowned premium spirits brand, parlaying the beauty and mystique of Provence into a worldwide libation.
A savvy marketer and maverick, Paul Ricard started a company in Marseille, France, to introduce pernod, the beloved local aperitif, to the world. With its striking, colorful branding that evoked sunny Provence, the company thrived until the arrival of World War II, when Ricard was forced to close down operations. Ever the entrepreneur, he pivoted to agriculture and built up a successful rice farm from scratch. After the war, Ricard rebuilt his brand anew and lay the groundwork for the global leader it is today.
This is the story of Ricard's extraordinary life, a timeless tale of adventure, business prowess, and endless adaptability. In addition to his successful spirits company, Ricard opened a popular racecar circuit; transformed Mediterranean islands into vacation destinations; and pursued his lifelong love of painting. With endless optimism, strategic acumen, and unwavering determination, Ricard navigated his way through turbulent political and economic times to create a successful business that has stood the test of time and now includes more than 35 international brands, from Absolut Vodka to Chival Regal.