New year is always exciting when it comes to various brands setting up strategies for the 12 months to come.  New products in the offing, re-vamped and innovative marketing campaigns; it’s all about both the branding and the taste of the cognac, naturally, as to who’ll end up winners in the year ahead, and who’ll have to take a back seat.

Just a few days after Chinese New Year we’ve put together a list of the cognac brands we think will hit the top spot in the next 12 months, and the reasons for this.  The market is once again changing, with sales values up over the last year but volumes down.  And with China no longer being the golden nest egg that it has been over the last decade, it seems that cognac houses that’ve been putting all their efforts into this region will have to adapt their way of thinking to continue to grow their market share.

Cognac Brands 2014

So below is the Cognac Expert list of brands we think have an exciting year ahead of them, and some of the pitfalls that they’ll need to overcome to thrive…

Rémy Martin Cognac

With their new cellar master, Baptiste Loiseau, taking over in spring of 2014, we think that Rémy Martin will definitely have some new ideas up their sleeve.  However, with a large amount of current sales being made up from the Asian market, then there’s likely to be some new thinking as to the efforts being concentrated in other areas of the world.

Of course, it helps to be one of the largest houses when it comes to brand awareness, but with other – perhaps lesser-known – brands nipping at their heels, there’s never been a more important time for a house to continue to keep and/or grow its grip on the market.

Louis XIII by Rémy Martin Cognac

Read more about Rémy Martin Cognac.

D’Ussé Cognac

Produced by Chateau de Cognac under the watchful eye of cellar master, Michel Casavecchia, D’Ussé Cognac has certainly hit the ground running.  And with some clever marketing strategies such as having hip-hop legend, Jay-Z, as the front man, we expect big things from this cognac brand in 2014.

Now available in the UK as well as the US, it’ll be interesting to see if D’Ussé will mirror the successful marketing strategy of the Kim Birkedal Hartmann and the ‘every possible opportunity to mention the brand’ Ludacris/Conjure Cognac partnership.  However, this pairing targets the VS portion of the market, whereas D’Ussé is a VSOP.  This market in the US is somewhat less saturated, meaning D’Ussé certainly have a chance to expand, branch out and become even more of a household name…

D'Ussé VSOP Cognac

Read more about D’Ussé Cognac.

Fransac Cognac

Maybe not quite such a big name, Fransac Cognac has been purchased by a Chinese group and is planning some big things for this year.  A lot of work is going into the restructuring of the brand, and they’re also concentrating on the visiting and tourist issue.  Plus, with being Chinese led, they’ve already got a head start on really targeting the market in China and other Asian areas.  But will they be concentrating on other territories as well?  That remains to be seen…

Bisquit Cognac

Growing all the time, and with their big re-brand and opening of their new HQ in the old Chateau Pellisson, you can bet your bottom dollar that Bisquit Cognac will be hell bent on exposing the brand to a more international audience.  We really do think this is a brand to watch, and we’ll be doing so with much interest.

Bisquit XO Cognac

Read more about Bisquit Cognac.

Deau Cognac

The house of Deau, which we had the pleasure of visiting in the summer of 2013, has some pretty exciting things planned for the coming year.  This (currently) lesser known cognac brand has a new product due to be released in Hong Kong; the Deau LVO La Vie en Or, along with their already available high end trio, the Deau XO, Deau Black and Deau Louis Memory Cognacs.  We certainly think this is a brand to watch out in 2014, and one that cognac aficionados will find well worth giving a try.

Deau Louis Memory Cognac

Read more about Deau Cognac.

Hine Cognac

One of the bigger brands, it might have come as a surprise to some when the sale of the house to the Nicolas family was announced in September 2013.  Known for their vintage cognacs, the house of Hine will no doubt continue in the vein of top-level cognacs.  But will there be a change in marketing strategy under the new ownership?  It’ll be exciting to watch and find out…

Hine Prestige Mariage de Thomas Hine Cognac

Read more about Hine Cognac.

Park Cognac

This small brand is produced under the much larger group, Tessendier & Fils.  Park Cognac is becoming more and more popular in the US, so it’ll be interesting to see if they target this market further, and manage to increase in popularity in the States.  At present the brand is much better known in Europe, but their penchant for producing light, unadulterated cognacs from VS through to XO makes an ideal recipe for concentration on sales ‘across the pond.’

Read more about Park Cognac.

Courvoisier Cognac

Just because you’re one of the giants doesn’t mean you can ever stop moving forward.  And the marketing force behind Courvoisier Cognac certainly knows its stuff.  They’ve already proven their marketing strategies work with products such as C by Courvoisier, and they know how to work the current trending to produce cognacs that really do hit the spot. And to add an additional twist to the tale, Japanese Suntory is up to buy Beam including Courvoisier bringing even more suspense into the mix. Anyway, we think that 2014 will be a pivotal year for the house, and we can expect new and innovative products to hit the market.

Cognac Brands to watch out for in 2014

Read more about Courvoisier Cognac.

Louis Royer Cognac

With a good range of cognacs already on sale, it was a big step for Louis Royer Cognac to actually purchase 24 hectares of Grande Champagne vineyards back in 2012.  This is because, up until then, the house had never actually owned any vineyards, instead purchasing raw eaux-de-vie directly from the wine growers.  There must certainly have been a very good reason for them to change tactics after so many years, and perhaps 2014 will be the year we see this smaller cognac house really reach out and take the market by the horns.

Louis Royer XO Cognac

Read more about Louis Royer Cognac.

Finally…

Whatever happens this year, due to the change in shift of the markets it’s certainly sure to be an interesting one.  With the global economy still acting in a way where it’s virtually impossible to predict what might happen, it’s interesting times for the cognac industry.  But whatever happens, you can rest assured that we at Cognac Expert will be searching out all the inside news, and reporting it to you just as soon as it happens.

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Jacki has been with Cognac Expert from virtually the beginning. She's the senior editor of the blog, and has spent much of her life living in rural France. Today she's based back in the UK, where she splits her working life between writing for Cognac Expert and working as a Paramedic at a large regional hospital.

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