Global Cognac sales down

Global Cognac sales declined last year, mainly because the fast-growing Chinese market slowed down considerably, says a new just-drinks/The IWSR report.

Worldwide shipments of Cognac fell to 12.3 million 9-liter cases in 2013, a slide of -3.2% compared to the previous year.

From 2009 to the end of 2012, Chinese shipments of Cognac had increased by about 800,000 cases. Last year, however, shipments fell by -11.2% to 2.4 million cases, following the Government crackdown on the consumption of luxury items.

Americas regain top position

Be the end of 2013, North America regained the top stop from Asia as Cognac’s largest market in volume terms.

Shipments to the Americas (domestic consumption) currently stand at approximately 3.95 million cases, or 32% of the world’s total, while deliveries to Asia, at 3.57 million, represent about 28%.

Including Travel Retail, the largest region is still Asia, however.

Other Asian countries fell

China was not the only country with lower Cognac demand. Sales in Hong Kong and Vietnam also declined, while in Taiwan growth slowed down significantly.

The outlook for Malaysia and Vietnam is “promising”, the authors noted.

Japan, which used to be a major consumer of Cognac, has seen sales fall for several years. Recently the downward trend has slowed. In 2013, shipments dropped by -3.3%, which was an improvement on the 2009 to 2013 average of -6%.

Europe still on downward trend

Since 2004, shipments across Europe have slipped by 1 million cases, and there is “little sign of improvement.”

Cognac’s main European markets – the UK, France and Germany – posted the biggest declines.

In Germany, deliveries dropped to 365,000 cases, a decline of 17.2%.

The definition of true Cognac

Cognac is a type of brandy that is named after the town of Cognac in France. It is produced in the wine-growing region surrounding the town.

For a distilled brandy to carry the name Cognac – an Appelation d’origine contrôlée – its production methods must adhere to certain legal requirements.

The drink must be made from specific grapes, of which Ugni blanc, known in the area as Saint-Emilion, is the most widely used.

The brandy has to be distilled twice in copper pot stills, and then left to age for at least two years in French oak barrels from Limousin or Troncais.

Map of Cognac region

A map of the Cognac region in France (Photo: Wikipedia)