It’s official: cognac is hot! Exports of the grape brandy from France are at an all time high and the tasty digestif now account’s for over a quarter of the total value of all French wine and spirits exports according to the latest stats from the BNIC (Bureau National Interprofessionnel du Cognac).
The BNIC reported that the fiscal year ending in July 2018 marked the fourth straight year that Cognac exports rose. Volume increased 8.2% to 205.9 million bottles over last year’s previous record of 200 million bottles. Likewise, revenue jumped 5.4% in value to €3.2 million.
North America and Asia led the charge. In the former region, the AOC logged 89.8 million bottles shipped, a rise of 9.4% in volume and 0.2% in value. The United States was at the vanguard of that consumption with 86.5 million bottles shipped during the period. “The brown spirits category is growing in the US market.
“The historical presence of cognac and the constant investment by the Cognac houses in this market have reinforced the performance of cognac in the U.S.” offered Patrick Raguenaud, President of the BNIC in a statement.
The East Asian market received 60.9 million bottles, a hop of 13.5% in volume and 12.4% in value. Not surprisingly, China accounted for the majority of that consumption notching 26.2 million bottles. Raguenaud commented, “These good results confirm China’s continued appetite for Cognac, even with transitions currently taking place in that market.”
Continental Europe, the cradle of Cognac, reported a small drop of 2% in volume to 41.3m bottles, but compensated with 3% rise in value. The BNIC added that western and northern Europe are drinking slightly less Cognac, but Russia and Latvia are upping their intake.
The industry is pegging South Africa, Vietnam, Oceania and the Caribbean as developing markets. Last year, shipments to these areas increased 12.2% in volume to 13.9m bottles and 5.3% in value.
If you’re curious about the specifics, the AOC reported that V.S., V.S.O.P., X.O., and other older categories make up 50% of total volume and only continues to grow in popularity within the vital North American market. “The good momentum we are experiencing today in these three quality-designated categories can be explained by cognac’s strength in all markets, with varied consumption patterns,” gushed Raguenaud.