According to the Bureau National Interprofessionnel du Cognac shipments of the liquor have increased during 2016-2017 to reach their highest levels ever. The group announced that, once again, both in volume and in value, Cognac exports have continued to swell for the third year running, with a growth of 10.2 percent in volume and 15.2 percent in value. This represents a total of 190 million bottles shipped within the year and a value of €3 billion ($3.5 billion).
According to Market Insider: “Cognac category has solidified its position with 82.1 million bottles shipped over the course of the campaign.The USA, traditionally the market leader, continues to drive the increase with 78.7 million bottles.”
“In the same period, shipments to East Asia have also made gains, with 53.7 million bottles or an increase of 10.6 percent in volume. China played a significant role, with almost 22.6 million bottles imported. At the same time, and after several years in decline, shipments within Europe have turned around. These positive results are due to growth in Cognac’s traditional markets, notably the United Kingdom and Germany, but also to significant recovery in Eastern Europe and Russia.”
The potential for growth was also confirmed in the African (South Africa) and Caribbean markets, with increases of 14.6 percent in volume. These emerging markets now represent a decent chunk of total exports.
A resurrection of interest in Cognac from Russia and the Baltic states, where shipments increased by 73.2 percent, were instrumental in Europe’s return to growth.
In China, a crack down on inter-party ‘gifts’ led to a quick drop in Cognac exports over recent times. However the nation has managed to claw back a good portion of regional exports, having led gains in the Far East, the region witnessing an overall increase of 10.6 percent and value increase of 19.4 percent.
According to a press release, the BNIC said: “Cognac at the VS level continues to do well in the principal markets. Sustained by a dynamic US market, shipments of VS account for half of all Cognac exports, with a rise of 9.6 percent in volume and 15.0 percent in value. At a little more than 40 percent of export volume, shipments of VSOP rose again by 7.4 percent in volume and 9.0 percent in value. XO and Hors de bottlings saw an impressive increase of 24.2 percent in volume and 23.2 percent in value that is directly linked to a revival of Asian markets.”
The Bureau National Interprofessionnel du Cognac is a forum for discussion and decision-making across the Cognac industry. With the membership made up equally of growers and businessmen, its primary function is the guarding of Cognac’s registered designation of origin status and fighting for the interests of the growers, distillers, and negotiants of the Cognac region.
The BNIC is looking to “guarantee that production and stock levels are in line with demand” with an all new business strategy.
In addition, the body is also developing measures to aid viticulturists in managing the potentially devastating effects of climatic events in lieu of this year’s particularly intense frost and hail in the Cognac region. Indeed, after a rocky few years, it appears that Cognac is beginning to find its feet once more within the global spirits industry. After recent gains in China, this latest report and its findings on Cognac’s European growth can only be good news for this classical liquor. Certainly, it will be interesting to see where Cognac’s future lies with the growth of liquors such as Gin, Rum, and Tequila as well as the predictable strength of favorite Whiskey.