China On Track To Be World’s Biggest Cognac Consumer

Cognac Consumption Jumped 55% Between 2007-2011

Jolin Tsai VSOP

Already the world’s largest importer of cognac in terms of value, China is expected to surpass the US to become the top cognac consumer by 2020. According to a new report released this week by Vinexpo and the International Wine & Spirit Research (IWSR) market group, cognac consumption in China is on track to increase by 60 percent between 2012 and 2015, putting it well on its way to take the top spot within only seven years.

Currently, the US enjoys a strong lead in actual cognac consumption, tossing back 139 hectolitres of the brandy per year, far ahead second-place Singapore (82 hectolitres) and third-place consumer China (69 hectolitres).

However, owing to greater demand among China’s middle-aged, middle-class male consumers and — surprisingly — younger drinkers, cognac’s star is rising steadily in the Chinese Mainland following decades of popularity in Hong Kong. Some 2.3 million cases of cognac were sold in the Mainland in 2011, and as Cyril Camus, the 5th generation president of Camusrecently told Thoughtful China, the country “has become a very important, huge market for every cognac company.”

Interestingly, some cognac makers have retooled their China strategies to tap older and younger drinkers at the same time. As Jing Daily noted this past fall, much of Remy Cointreau’s success in China comes down to its two-pronged marketing strategy, aimed at capturing the country’s “bread and butter” wealthier middle-aged male consumers as well as the younger nightclub-loving fu er dai demographic.

Tapping older drinkers, Remy has strongly pushed its US$2,500 Louis XIII cognac in mainland China, while simultaneously angling for the increasingly lucrative 20-something demographic by promotingits China-facing Centaure line and a limited edition Remy Martin VSOP endorsed by popular Taiwanese pop star Jolin Tsai.


Market Analysis, Marketing, Retail