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Cognac soars as China sales double

The premium brandy made an extraordinary comeback in 2021 with sales up 31%, bolstered by astonishing growth in China and the US.

Cognac sales in China, the spirit’s second largest market, leapt by an extraordinary 56% last year, compared with a more modest growth of 8% in Europe.

The figures are further proof that China is fast creeping up on Cognac’s top export market, the US, which saw an 11% increase in sales last year.

A total 223.2 million bottles of Cognac were shifted globally in 2021, a year-on-year increase of 16% in volumes, The Bureau National Interprofessionnel du Cognac (BNIC) announced this week.

The news signals a bounce back for the spirit, which suffered plummeting sales during the early days of the pandemic.

In 2020, leading brands Hennessy, Rémy Martin, Martell and Courvoisier all saw their numbers slide southwards, with the Pernod Ricard-owned Martell worst hit, suffering a fall of 26.6%.

However, in March last year producers welcomed the five‐year suspension of tariffs between the EU and US, which lifted the crippling 25% duty slapped on certain Cognacs and brandies. And by November, Rémy Cointreau, which owns Rémy Martin Cognac, raised its full-year profit forecast after a better-than-expected first half of the year.

“This growth reflects a real recovery of Cognac, as well as new consumption habits,” BNIC said in a statement this week.

The spirit’s phenomenal growth chimes with a prediction made last year by Spiros Malandrakis, head of research – alcoholic drinks at Euromonitor International, who forecasted that Cognac’s focus would be on China to aid performance.

“In the case of Cognac, it’s focusing on China, and China has been on a massive recovery already, soon to be reaching 2019 levels potentially by the end of this year or early next year,” Malandrakis said in June 2021. “China is witnessing a much stronger bounce back [than other nations] as it’s not really had any more lockdowns; essentially, China is coming from the future, it’s what will happen in other countries once they also bounce back.”


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