Our friends at Martell are doing well, something I noticed when I attended the Martell 100 Years Cordon Bleu Event in Monaco. Holding the prestigious title of being not only the first cognac brand to sell a million cases to China in the course of a year, but the first of any imported spirit to do so, means that Martell Cognac has certainly set the bar for everyone else to aim for. And this is even more impressive when you think that in 2002 their sum total of sales to China was a mere 80,000 cases.
That’s an increase of 1,150 per cent.
A man I talked to in the past, and who explained me Martell’s positionning in Asia, Lionel Breton, CEO of Martell-Mumm Perrier-Jouet, the cognac and champagne division of Pernod Ricard, said that these figures show how right they were to concentrate on Chinese sales from an early stage.
Their strategy was, and remains to this day, to concentrate on the older quality cognacs so desired by the Chinese. Breton stated that the success is due to their policy of ‘premiumisation,’ the definition of which is ‘how to make more money from a single hectolitre of eaux-de-vie’
The revamped Martell Cordon Bleu Cognac; the new XO; the VSOP Noblige – all have had a massive effect on sale level in China, seeing sales multiply twenty times in a decade.
All this has led to China accounting for half of all the worldwide sales of Martell Cognac. And with 2 million cases in total sold last year, Martell has risen to the number two spot in both volume and value of sales.