‘Gilets Jaunes cost me €500,000’, says Champagne Deutz CEO

CEO of Champagne Deutz, Fabrice Rosset, said that mass demonstrations in France from November last year had wiped out €0.5m worth of potential sales for his brand.

A broken cash machine and anti-Macron yellow Graffiti after riots during the gilets jaunes movement in the 8th arrondissement of Paris

Describing the impact on Deutz as “very substantial” during a discussion with the drinks business in Champagne last month, he then qualified the remark by commenting, “I reckon we lost €500,000 worth of business because of the gilets jaunes.”

As previously reported by db, demonstrations by the gilets jaunes, which began on 17 November, were especially disruptive in the centre of Paris in the run up to Christmas.

In particular, rioting in France’s capital led to the closure of key shopping districts, most notably the Champs-Élysées, which also sustained extensive damage from acts of vandalism to upmarket retailers in the area, made especially harmful as it was during their most important trading time.

While the impact was strongest for branded goods, such was the negative effect on the national psyche, Champagne sales fell across the country during the most voluminous month of the year for the consumption of the sparkling wine.

Road blocks across the country also affected the delivery of Champagne to key retailers in France.

Explaining the impact of the movement, co-president of the Comité Champagne, Jean-Marie Barillère, told db, “The gilets jaunes had an affect on Champagne both because of what it meant for logistics, but also the moral of the people.”

For Deutz in particular, the demonstrations damaged sales of the Champagne in restaurants in central Paris, where the brand is well-distributed.

Nevertheless, Rosset told db that 2018 marked a new record for Deutz, with the Champagne enjoying an overall rise in volumes of 20% to reach a 2.4 million total, and, according to the CEO, a slightly greater increase in turnover.

“Last year for us is an all-time record, but I was expecting to do more than I did; it would have been greater but for the gilets jaunes,” he said.

Finally, as proof of his confidence in the long term health of the brand, he said that he would be making the equivalent of 2.65m bottles from the excellent 2018 harvest.

“I feel positive, and so I’ve have still increased our bottling: the tirage this year will reach an all time record of 2.65m – so a substantial increase – and we have the space; I’ve just ordered the last tranche of winery equipment,” he said.

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