Home' National Liquor News : NLN MAY 2016 Contents 42 | MAY 2016 NATIONAL LIQUOR NEWS
Adrian Welsh, category manager beers, spirits and RTD at Chambers
Cellars, thinks that there are opportunities for retailers in this area.
"I'm sure whisky drinkers who buy single malts would definitely
drink a Cognac if they want to or if there is some selling done by
the staff in the stores," says Welsh. "Whisky is obviously in huge
growth and I think all spirits in the premium end of things are also
experiencing growth, obviously for Cognac it's not been as strong as
whisky. With Cognac you've got select buyers who buy it, but there is
some growth there."
COCKTAILS AT HOME
Redin adds that the 'cocktails at home' trend which has helped boost a
lot of spirits is something which can also help push sales of Brandy and
Cognac. "The cocktail culture is definitely an area we are pushing
and have selected four key cocktails to focus our attention on -- the
Sazerac, French 68, Sidecar and Maiden's Prayer -- all classics that
can be easily replicated or tweaked."
Grace agrees that this is an area where Cognac can grow.
"Without a doubt, Cognac has the same potential to enjoy the
same boom whisky and gin have experienced. Martell, both locally
and globally have some great initiatives in the pipeline to shake
the mould of the Cognac drinking occasion, resonating with the
contemporary consumer, whilst still remaining true to its craft and
heritage that makes the brand such an iconic worldwide house."
So what can retailers do to take advantage of this push
for premium Cognac and Brandy? For Welsh, and others,
a lot of it comes from how the product is displayed. He
explains, "We have a nice glass cabinet in one of our
stores at Rhodes that displays a dozen different Cognacs
and it looks very prestige and sells very well from there."
Burrell also advises retailers that displays can help and
adds that one of the positives for Cognac and Brandy
is that many producers use impressive packaging to
emphasise the premium nature of the product.
"Like most premium products, every Cognac house
will have a different shape bottle, generally with a
teardrop shape with a quality closure on top, which look
amazing," Burrell says. "Have these on display (behind
a glass cabinet) as it will attract anyone looking for a
premium spirit. Also have the VS, VSOP and Napoleon
Cognacs and Brandies close by."
COGNAC AND BRANDY
Redin believes that there are some big opportunities for retailers to make
the most from Cognac and Brandy, but they need to be more proactive.
"Stop putting Brandy on the bottom shelf," he says. "It is a truly
great spirit and deserves greater focus in-store. Sample it and conduct
masterclasses for your customers (we can do this) and they will soon
realise how versatile and fantastic it is as a spirit."
St Agnes officially released the XO Grand Reserve 40 Year Old and
XO Imperial 20 Year Old at Top Shelf in Melbourne last year and Redin
says that those releases "have spurred an increased interest in St Agnes
and the Brandy category that has not been seen for the past decade. St
Agnes is now back in growth and looking to build on its position as
Australia's market leading brandy".
And the push to premium is something retailers should
remember, as Burrell says, "Not all Cognacs and Brandies are
created equal. Ask and you will soon find slightly lesser known
brands often provide a high quality brand, product and bottle".
Cognac and Brandy are bubbling away in Australia and
consumers are becoming more aware of how the spirits are made
and aged, the requirements that goes into their production and
the heritage surrounding many of the brands. Indeed, Redin says
that the barriers to entry for good Brandy are high, "it needs
to be distilled from grapes and then aged for a minimum of
three years to be called a Brandy -- this takes a fair amount
of capital to hold the stock." He adds: "It would be great
if some of the smaller gin distillers could have a go at
Brandy and produce some great artisanal products to
get more interest in the category."
But consumers are gradually becoming more
aware of the merits of Cognac and Brandy and this
is a global trend, not just in Australia, as the global
value of Cognac sales leapt 19.6 per cent in 2015 to
Grace agrees that these are exciting times
for Cognac and Brandy, adding, "Cognac is
reinvigorating its positioning with consumers to move
it to a more contemporary drink in the same way that
single malt and gin have done in recent times. Cognac
is the equal second fastest growing spirits category
behind gin and Martell is the fastest growing brand
within the category."
St Agnes Distillery barrel room.
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