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COGNAC AND BRANDY
consistent for Martell as the fastest growing Cognac
brand which has been growing at 45.4 per cent
(Value) year-on-year and likewise with our Cordon
Bleu and XO, growing at greater than 100 per cent in
both value and volume. So in our case, consumers are
purchasing (a lot) more and at a higher value."
Grace also has simple advice for retailers, "Range
it", she says. "For the equally second fastest growing
category, distribution is still surprisingly low across the
off-trade so there is a big opportunity for retailers here
to drive sales by ensuring core ranging in stores. Also
offer diversity; don't just have one SKU at one price
point, allow an opportunity for up-sell. We are seeing
strong growth from entry level Cognacs right up to ultra-
prestige so the greater diversity, the greater opportunity
for a wider audience and greater profitability.
"Also feature it at the key selling periods with 40 per
cent of Cognac consumption coming from October to
February (Christmas and Chinese New Year) aligned
with key gifting occasions. Even outside these periods
however, there are strong opportunities for sales."
Martell has seen some rapid expansion over the last
12 months, with the brand growing at three times the
rate of the category and the brand established a strong
reputation for its Cordon Bleu and XO ranges. And
Grace is confident for more from the brand in 2016.
"In 2016, we expect this momentum to continue as
we allocate more marketing focus behind the brand
and we work with our existing and new partners to
grow the Cognac category particularly at the VS and
VSOP levels," Grace says.
"Perhaps the greatest opportunity we see in
2016 and beyond is continuing to shift consumer
perceptions of Cognac. Historically, Cognac has been
consumed in more traditional settings, as a digestive
after dinner drink but today we are seeing it reach
more consumption occasions, i.e. cocktails, mixers,
shots -- giving Cognac more contemporary relevance.
Much of this groundswell is occurring in the on-
premise and we expect these trends to flow through to
retail as it has in other categories like whisky and gin.
"Martell will continue to work closely with our
retail partners to drive sales by maximising key
consumption occasions such as Christmas and
Chinese New Year with value added packs as we
know gifting is really important amongst traditional
Martell is not the only brand looking to build on
the category's momentum and carry that forward in
2016 and beyond. Burrell adds his hopes for 2016, "I
would love to see Camus, including Ile de Ré, increase
brand awareness in Australia, it is one of only a
handful of privately owned and family run Cognac
houses remaining. Globally, Camus is in the top six
of all the Cognac houses in terms of sales, this allows
for a lot of room to grow in Australia where premium
Cognacs are becoming more recognised".
The Ile de Ré Fine Island Cognac is a new product
in Australia from Camus, which is being distributed
by Alepat Taylor and it is a drink which does have a
point of difference, which could help give the Cognac
a wider appeal to consumers.
Burrell adds: "The newest product in our Cognac
portfolio is Ile de Ré, a fine Cognac from the island of
Ile de Ré, off the west coast of France, in the Atlantic
Ocean. This island lies within the Cognac region and
thanks to ocean breezes and cellars built into the cliff
side they contain a saltier complex taste, a favourite
among whisky drinkers."
Those ocean breezes get into the grapes, which are
also fertilized by seaweed, and all those factors add up to
the Cognac having more single malt characteristics. The
Ile de Ré Fine Island Cognac is now available through
Alepat Taylor and it can be enjoyed over ice or in many
of the same ways that single malt Scotch is drunk.
As previously mentioned whisky is still one of the
major categories within Dark Spirits, indeed within
Glass Spirits as a whole and has enjoyed a recent
boom. So are there opportunities for Cognac to make
an impact on whisky drinkers?
"STOP PUTTING BRANDY
ON THE BOTTOM SHELF. IT
IS A TRULY GREAT SPIRIT
AND DESERVES GREATER
SAMPLE IT AND CONDUCT
YOUR CUSTOMERS (WE
CAN DO THIS) AND THEY
WILL SOON REALISE
HOW VERSATILE AND
FANTASTIC IT IS AS A
SPIRIT." -- MATT REDIN,
ANGOVE FAMILY WINES
Tasting and testing at
Martell's House in Cognac.
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