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China and US lead French Cognac boom as mixology drives domestic market

Distillery owner Eric Pinard checks the distillation process of Cognac, a white wine eau-de-vie obtained from a double distillation in a Charentais still
Distillery owner Eric Pinard checks the distillation process of Cognac, a white wine eau-de-vie obtained from a double distillation in a Charentais still   -   Copyright  PHILIPPE LOPEZ/AFP
By Euronews

Sales of Cognac shot up by 30.9% in value and 16.2% in volume in 2021, even exceeding their pre-pandemic level, the National Interprofessional Bureau of Cognac (BNIC) said on Monday.

"In 2021, 223.2 million bottles were shipped for a turnover of 3.6 billion euros, up 1.6% compared to 2019, the last year before the health crisis," the organisation said in a press release.

"Cognac remains marked by a very strong dynamic. (...) The demand has never been so important on our markets as this year," said BNIC president Christophe Veral.

The United States, the largest export market, bought 115 million bottles last year, i.e. 11.1% more than in 2020, while sales in China, Cognac's second-largest market, jumped by 55, 8%, for 34 million bottles shipped.

Elsewhere, Cognac sales are growing in "new markets", in South Africa and Nigeria in particular, as well as in traditional ones, up 8.1% in volume in Europe.

In France, Cognac also recorded strong growth (+23.4% in volume), driven by "the development of mixology", which attracts "new customers in search of authentic products".

On the production side, the organisation forecasts a 2021 harvest "in the ten-year average", with 867,000 hectoliters of pure alcohol (hl AP) produced, for a yield of 10.77 hp AP / hectare, which will make it possible "to support the pursuit of (the) growth" of the sector.

97% export-oriented, Cognac sales had fallen by 22.3% in value in 2020, the pandemic having favored sales on the internet, a market where less expensive bottles dominate.