Figures just out show that 2012 was a record year for the exports of French spirits and wines.  Up 10 per cent to 11.2 billion euros, the demand was driven by the Chinese and USA’s penchant in particular for Cognac, Champagne and Burgundy wine.

Pernod Ricard have also released figures for the first half of the 2012/2013 year, and these show a healthy 6 per cent net sales growth – although very interestingly sales of Scotch in Asia, and particularly China, fell over this period.

CCognac Sales

There’s no denying that we live in ‘interesting’ times when it comes to the World economy.  The uncertainties that abound the world over makes for a challenging environment, but the wine and spirits industry seems to be riding the storm on the crest of a wave.

When it comes to monetary value, the rise in general is being fuelled by the more expensive products – such as Cognac and Champagne – because the volumes (of wines and spirits) only show a 1.6 per cent rise.

Looking at Cognac as a single entity, it seems that it remains to be the current driving force when it comes to the massive increase in sales of spirits.  Export rose a healthy 17 per cent last year, to the tune of 2.4 billion Euros – 68 per cent of this was thanks to the Asian market.

Are the Chinese switching allegiance from Scotch to Cognac?

Looking at Pernod Ricard (Martell Cognac), their first half profits were up an incredible 25 per cent.  And the group’s recent acquisition of the Cognac producer, Le Maine au Bois, appears to be a wise move and will allow the group to continue to keep up with the ever-increasing demand for Cognac.

However, over the same period, three out of the four of Pernod Ricard’s blended Scotch Whisky brands declined by a quite considerable amount.  Sales of Chivas Regal were down 3 per cent, Royal Salute remained the same as the previous six months and Ballantine’s dropped 11 per cent in volume.  Declining sales in China and Korea were responsible for this, but the strong growth in Cognac in the same area meant that the company still showed an overall growth in China of 18 per cent.

Sources: www.thespiritsbusiness.comwww.capital.fr

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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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