We’ve always known that Cognac is up there with the “cool” spirits like Gin and Vodka. And our faithful followers clearly believe the same. But the latest hard facts are proof that Cognac is officially the next hot trend.

Craft Cognac: Eau-De-Vie Is Finally Trendy!

For the third consecutive year, sales of Cognac around the world continue to rise. Record level in 2016: Sales of Cognac were up 6.0% in volume and 6.8% in value compared to 2015.. and the first quarter of 2017 showed stronger sales of V.S. (+11.4%) and XO (+16.8%). For the 12 month period April 2016 to March 2017 sales were at around 182 million bottles.

And with 98% of the bottles being exported, this is great news for the industry. There’s no stopping the Cognac internationalization! Cognac-Expert is the no 1 supporter of this development–we want to share the amazing variety of local producers with the world, and make them accessible for our readers to buy in our online shop.

Cognac follows Gin and Craft Beer Trends

There has been a very noticeable rise in the popularity of both Craft Gin and Craft Beer over the past few years. Bars that sell only these products have sprung up around the world. Whether you are in Berlin, Los Angeles, Tokyo, or London, you’ll find an urban craft-inspired hipster bar around the corner. And even your regular drinking establishments are promoting such products.

But guess what? Trends only last a certain period of time, and then comes the next one. As we are getting seriously bored of crafty Gin drinks, Moscow Mules, and Mojitos, Cognac is the new hype in trendy bars around the globe.

Craft Cognac: Eau-De-Vie Is Finally Trendy!

Bar tenders and mixologists are increasingly experimenting with Cognac to create delicious drinks. The town of Cognac just recently saw the opening of Bar Luciole, a beautiful space with an incredible range of Cognac bottles.

Craft Cognac: Eau-De-Vie Is Finally Trendy!

Spirits on the Rise

Spirits, on the other hand, continue to rise in popularity on a global scale. This includes both Cognac and Craft Gin–mainly due to clever, innovative, and targeted advertising that appeals to the ever-growing Millennial generation.

It seems that for this fast increasing corner of the market, holding a Gin or Cognac in your hand is becoming more preferable than that of a beer. In fact, within the US the spirits industry has beaten that of beer for an incredible seven years! The UK appears to be following the same trend, with the latest 2016-2017 sales of spirits trouncing that of beers.

Craft Beer is becoming mainstream

With Craft Beer in particular, the last 12 months of sales have slowed in the US. According to the Brewer’s Association, one of the problems is the big players moving in like sharks and purchasing the small craft breweries.

Craft Cognac: Eau-De-Vie Is Finally Trendy!

Consumers are reacting to this, because the whole idea of purchasing and enjoying a Craft Beer is not only the taste, but the fact that you’re supporting an artisan producer. It appears that this penchant for the big brewers to hoover up the little guys is actually causing many of those that remain privately run to fail to remain profitable and therefore have to close. This has lead to a further distinction in the Craft Beer market: You can now select between ‘True Craft’ and ‘Mass Craft’…

But despite this shift, the beer industry remains positive about growth. And while things might be changing in the US, other areas of the world continue to show healthy increases in sales, in particular in Western Europe.

Cognac is one of a kind

Comparing Cognac to other drinks is always interesting. But no matter how much we appreciate other spirits, Cognac remains unique. No matter how strong the market becomes, there will always be a finite amount of Cognac available. And brands, such as Cognac Larsen are revamping their look to cater to a new generation of urban millenials who no longer drink at home in front of their fireplace but in hip downtown bars.

Craft Cognac: Eau-De-Vie Is Finally Trendy!

You can’t produce outside of the area in which its grown, and you can’t speed up the aging process of eau-de-vie. Whatever the future holds, the value of Cognac is always more likely to remain stable than that of other drinks.

And that, as far as we’re concerned, is a good thing. Of course, large conglomerates such as LVMH and Pernod Ricard have and always will purchase small producers. But the French–and the Cognac famers in particular–are a proud bunch. You can rest assured that they will protect their heritage and tradition to the bone.

US and China lead the way

The US continues to be the leading Cognac market. But interestingly, China has overcome the blip caused a few years ago, with the government crackdown on luxury goods. Sales to the Far East saw a rise by over 10% in the last year.

European sales are also on the rise, after several years of stagnation, and have returned to growth. In particular sales to Russia and the Baltic countries have risen massively. And the ‘new’ money within regions such as Africa and the Caribbean are showing great potential as Cognac consumers

But…will the 2017 harvest be able to cope?

The one issue with Cognac is that there isn’t–and can never be–an infinite amount of the base produce. 2017 especially is going to be challenging, because most of the harvest got destroyed by an agressive spring frost. Many producers have lost 100% of the grapes this season, devastating for building stock of eau-de-vie.

Jean Bernard de Larquier, President of the BNIC, has stated, “We know that we are going to have difficulties because we will not have the harvest we need”. But he hastens to add that the industry has already put strategies in place for just such an eventuality. There are plenty of stocks of older eaux-de-vie that can be used to compensate. This might well increase the cost a little bit, but the Cognac houses will be able to support this.

Sources: thespiritsbusiness.com, terredevins.com, mittlestandcafe.de, vie-charantaise.reussir.fr, fortune.com, bevindustry.com, foxnews.com, theguardian.com, bar-luciole.com

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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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