As the saying goes, size isn’t everything! And when it comes to the cognac market this certainly rings true.
Compared to the US market, cognac sales in China are only around half the quantity. But when you start to look at monetary value, then sales in China simply dwarf the good old US of A by around 70 per cent.
Recent research has shown that whilst in 2009 the Chinese market was already worth around US$370 million more than that of North America, 2010 has seen an incredible leap forward for this Asian market.
As the financial crisis tightened its grip on the US imports, Chinese sales simply grew and grew. And within the year the Chinese market exploded to a massive US$950 million more than that of the USA.
The Chinese see drinking a VSOP as better than consuming a 12 year old whisky, and bar owners can make higher profits from cognac than from whisky. Hennessy and Martell continue to remain the favourite cognacs for the Chinese.
Regarding cognac in the USA, another issue along with the recession is the increasing competition from other premium spirits, such as vodka. But in defence, there have been some good VS cognac promotions in 2010, and this has seen a surge in this level of cognac popularity.
It’ll be interesting to see what the 2011 figures bring. In 2010, the IWSR Spirits in China Report showed that for the first time since 2004, cognac sales in china were higher than sales of whisky.