It looks as though drinkers worldwide are increasingly developing a taste for Cognac. Ideal Wine Company reports on new figures, which indicate Cognac exports climbed to record highs in 2016.
Cognac is a luxury brandy produced in the eponymous French region of Cognac, based in the South-West. It is produced, through a strict double distillation method involving copper pots, with specific white wine grapes, primarily Ugni Blanc. In most countries, the Cognac label is legally protected, so firms must conform to a specific production process in order to promote their products as Cognac.
Similarly to Champagne, Cognac is regarded as a luxury item, due to its traditionally high price tag. Over the years, a number of top Cognac brands, such as Remy Martin, Delamain and Claude Thorin, have caught the imagination of brandy lovers everywhere. You can find products supplied by the above mentioned brands on Ideal Wine Company’s Cognacs list, at extremely reasonable prices.
According to The Drinks Business, an industry publication, Cognacs are actually more popular now than they ever have been before. Figures supplied by the Bureau National Interprofessionnel du Cognac (BNIC), a sector body, indicates that Cognac exports hit a record high of 179.1m bottles in 2016. This represents increases of 6% and 6.8% in terms of volume and value respectively from 2015.
This expansion, BNIC argues, was driven by the countries in the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). Cognac exports to the NAFTA nations increased by 14.2% (volume) and 14.3% (value), with 77.3m bottles ships. It’s important to note that the US has been Cognac’s largest market for 25 years and it retained this position in 2016, with 74.1m bottles being exported there alone last year.
The growth of the US market has been fuelled the expansion of the VS segment, which now comprises half of Cognac exports. VS saw volume and value rises of 9.6% and 13%. VSOP, which comprises 40% of the market, experienced smaller value and volume climbs of 0.3% and 0.4%, but old quality Cognac experienced a resurgence, with increases of 11.7% (volume) and 8.3% (value) in the same period.
Meanwhile, due to the stabilising Chinese market, 51.1m bottles were shipped to the Far East last year, equalling volume and value upticks of 1% and 3%. Yet only 39.4m bottles were sent to Europe in 2016, a slight decline on 2015, with volume and value falling by 1.2% and 1% each. However, Cognac exports to the rest of the world (e.g. the Caribbean and Africa) climbed slightly across last year.
These figures indicate, therefore, that Cognacs across the age classification spectrum, from VS to XO (extra old), are becoming more popular across the majority of the world. People are increasingly recognising that Cognac is a delicious drink, which can also be used to make fantastic cocktails and delicious dishes. If you want a quality product, you should consider buying Cognac in 2017!